Dec 23, 2011

The Changing Trend

After a long time, I'm blogging directly from my mobile. Travelling in a bus now. A commericial aired on the radio attracted my attention. It was about a .com company that sells garments online.
"How many times have I seen a .com advertisement, of late?", I asked myself.
If you closely notice on televsion, you will realize how many  new online ventures have rooted in the country. These days,  there are many businesses that operate only through online, without any single retail outlet. Rewind to 2006 (just five years) and there was only a handful of companies which used the Internet as a channel to sale  their stuff.
Most of the existing business expanded themself by adding online option as an additional sales channel. With Banking being the primary one among all such, the spread of this trend across domains is suprisingly even. Travel Ticket Booking, Online Shopping are two other fields that quickly come to my mind.
I bought a book (the biography of Steve Jobs) for 550 Rs from Flipkart.com where as walking into a Landmark/Oxford store would charge me the cover price of 799. Few months back, I ordered the famous board game - "Scotland Yard" in futurebazzar.com for just 499 whereas yesterday when I noticied it's selling price to be 799 in a Mahindra Retail store. Not only do I save a significant amount of money here but also I get it delivered right at my doorstep.
Even the basic needs like groceries are now available online. Futurebazaar.com (as the name indicates) first came up with this revolutionizing concept of delivering groceries at door steps. It will be interesting to see how deep an impact this is going to make in the next five years. Give a thought about the things that you cannot order online right now. You might very well find it available in the year 2016.

It will be interesting to see if I will continue blogging till that time, and also remember writing this post!

Dec 22, 2011

Microsoft Outlook Cache

How many times have you opened that file attachment directly from Microsoft Outlook, worked on it for hours only to find later that you don't even know where it got saved? It happens to busy people who work on office documents like PowerPoint, Word and Excel very frequently.

When you double-click and directly open an attachement from Outlook, it temporarily saves it a directory under Temproary Internet Files. To view all such files, go to the following location:
%userprofile%\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook
You may copy paste the above link, open RUN dialog (Windows + R), paste it and press Enter.You will be dumbfounded to see all those attached files you every opened directly through outlook.

This is a recovery option and the actual way should be saving it in a local folder and then start working on it. This works well for Windows XP users. I have not checked it for Vista/Windows 7.

Dec 18, 2011

The Plastic Revolution

"It will charge you an additional 5 Rs, is that fine?", the billing counter executive at the Scullers showroom politely asked me. It's a question I received quite a number of times over the past 2 months.This marks a change in another trend: Usage of plastic-made bags in India.

I have witnessed angry customer faces whenever we charged them for carry bags in my Dad's grocery shop. This happened when I was in Class X, which is around 10 years back. No one would bother if we add a rupee or two in a commodity but show up a crooked face when we charge 50 paise for it.

The idea of taking along a bag for shopping never seemed like a nice one to many. Movements from many organizations on Environment care, Green revolution have created a deep impact. From now on, when you walk into any retail store or super market, either branded or unbranded showroom, you are likely to be charged for the bags you are going to carry.

I would definitely welcome this move. Plastics are one of the major factors when it comes to ruining the environment. If we already know what is it that we are going to buy, then it makes sense to carry an appropriate bag. I have noticed many who drive to super market in their car, shop everything with a trolley, and finally move everything in the trolley to their car. No bags used!

There have been many statements of intent from the government on this subject but it was not considered with any bit of seriousness. Bangladesh was the first country to ban plastic bags in 2002. Denmark and Ireland have both experimented with taxing plastic bags. Dublin said the tax, imposed in 2002, had reduced usage by more than 95%. But here in India, the govt. keeps issuing statements, right from 1999 but I don’t see it happening anywhere. The Ministry of Environment and Forests (it’s here) introduced a new rule such as charging the customer who opt for carry bags. The intent behind charging the customer is to encourage them bring bags next time. Let’s hope everyone approaches it with a positive frame of mind, and aspire for a cleaner planet.

Dec 17, 2011

Prevailance of E-Mail Hacking

Tags: E-Mail hacking yahoo steve jobs laptop promotional offer scam 
Did you ever check whether that email account you opened long time ago is still active? We all have this habit creating multiple e-mail accounts and forgetting them as days progress. Only one of the account is used primarily and the other unused ids are often ignored.

If you are one such person, it is highly likely that someone is selling laptops with your email account somewhere in South Korea or Southern California. Yes, I just experienced such an incident when I logged into my Yahoo! account today morning. An old friend of mine pinged me with a "Hi..." and I responded with delight in my native language. I found his communication style odd because the first thing you would say to someone you haven't spoke to for a longer while, is "How are you?" or "Eppidi irukka vikkee?".

He shared some link and said it will get me free laptops, and that too from Apple! How on earth would a company like Apple would do something like that. I did not believe. 999/1000 promotional offers you see on the Internet are just FAKE. Don't believe them. You should only trust that which comes directly from the official website of that company. Had this link he gave redirected me to some page of Apple.com, I would have believed.

Follow the below conversation and you would know what is happening with your old unused email accounts.

A new way of Internet scam athrough e-Mail hacking
After I asked him for his address, he never responded!

Dec 12, 2011

The Attraction Theory

This post is about an inspiring real life story that ended in success due to a rewarding character of sincerity and honesty. It also gives a glimpse about an Attraction theory of this Universe. It's about a friend of mine who lives here in Bangalore, and loves being here. One of the Indian cities he didn't like at all is Chennai and that's where he was about to get transferred.

He was not assigned to any project here, and was waiting for one to start with. Because it took too long, it was decided that he be moved to Chennai where there are opportunities. He is requested to prepare for the interview after which he would start working from there. He had the opportunity of not preparing well and failing the interview so that he can stay back happily, but he decided otherwise. 

Deep inside him, he always wanted to be here but he prepared sincerely for the interview to justify the belief his manager had on him. One week went by, and the interview is a day away. He is all set to face it, clear it, and move to Chennai even if he is not interested. In a professional life, we have to make many compromises. I, for one, work in Bangalore but I always wanted to be in Chennai. To his surprise, it later turned out that the expected position is already filled and he need not take the interview!

That's some surprise and a welcome one for him. He did not expect it at all. By failing the interview, he will lose reputation amongst his senior managers but this being a cancellation from the client's end, that is also saved. An unwanted trip is avoided successfully. Adding ice to the cake is his new assignment to a project that started today in Bangalore. Cannot ask for anything more! It may be a mere coincidence but I noticed two things in his experience which is worth writing about:
  1. If you earnestly seek something, the Universe will eventually give it. (An attraction theory I once read in a book called The Secret)
  2. With sincerity and honestly, success is sure to come.

Nov 28, 2011

What does it take to become a CEO?

I was done checking my emails, signed-out on Yahoo, and was about to hit bed when a news article on the Yahoo! home page attracted my attention. The title read "I did not want to wait till 40 to be a CEO" and I opened it. It later turned out to be the success story of a economics grad named Ishita who at the age of just 25 become the CEO of the company she founded: 99Labels.com. Although I did not login, it looked like another online apparel shopping website. I liked the article, appreciated the woman for taking that initiative at such an young age. I was about to close my laptop before which I scrolled the page downwards only to get tickled by the comments on the page. 

There was more dispraise than words of recognition/encouragement. People literally vented out at her saying many negative things like "they cheat", "never deliver on time", or even worse - "never deliver at all". One said "This is paid news .... to attract people on this site ... there are lot of e-retail shops in market .. nothing is new ....". Of all the negative comments, there was one guy who wrote a blatant rant (which received 16 thumbs-up) that went like this:

I don’t know what people want to show….Being a CEO at the age of 20, 25 etc..Became fashion these days. Its not a big deal. You can also be a CEO or entrepreneur by just investing Rs 499. Create your own website in just Rs 499. and you will be owner of this site ..CEO and Entrepreneur. The main thing is your or companies turnover and faith of customer on your product or services

There were many agitations to that comment and among all that, I liked this response.
With rs 499 u can be CEO , but yahoo wont launch a´news about you buddy. be sport, clap for that lady. ( meanwhile i have question do you own a company? ) 

Absolutely true. I realized that reading news article comments is a more interactive activity than reading that news article itself. There was optimism, naivety, praise and dispraise, all over the same topic. While I was patiently reading all that, it suddenly struck me, "What does it take to become a respectable CEO?".  Why people could not accept the fact that she is a CEO? Even be it, a paid news. What is the image that comes to their mind when the see the word CEO? I contemplated over it, lost my intent to sleep during the process, and that's when I started writing this blog.

I think that 499 guy is right. Google offers domain registrations for just $10 an year and any one can start a .com site. My blog is hosted on a custom domain and I pay a similar amount. Just because I registered it as vikkee.com, I cannot say I am a CEO. If this blog is a simple online log of my life experiences, my other blog is not. I started it-kids.blogspot.com with a specific purpose, which is to share my technical knowledge in a friendly way for the people of my state. Though I founded it I saying myself as a CEO of that will sound odd and even absurd (Atleast, to me it does!). So the basic question still remains unanswered. How come a CEO receives respect?

AGE:
At 25, you will be very immature and adventurous. Only at 40 you will think about loss, wrote one person. So is AGE a factor the prevents people from respecting a CEO? I remember writing about the world's youngest CEO who started his company at the age of 14. Here is Suhas Gopinath for you.

POPULARITY:
I don't even know your company name. How can you be so boastful about being a CEO?, wrote another. So only the CEOs of renowned shopping websites are CEOs and not-so-famous-ones are not? How many of you know that John Donahoe is the CEO of EBay? or Jeff Bezos is the CEO of Amazon.com? Even I just now googled and found out!

SIZE:
Does the fact that 99Labels.com is not so big a player as a rediff.com or a flipkart.com is in India obstruct people? Does the CEO of Pepsi. Co deserves more respect than a state-based Mango juice manufacturer? Both of them play the same role. They manufacture liquids which people consume. So the volume of the business makes a difference?

MARKET SHARE:
This is a tricky one. If your company owns very high market share, you are a big time CEO. As of August 2011, Microsoft Windows has approximately 82.58% of the market share of the client operating systems. So the Microsoft CEO deserves all due credit? What about the beautiful Apple OS? Their share is only 10.4% and the audacious Linux is not even 2%. This brings another topic to the table: Reputation.

REPUTATION:
You like Steve Ballmer more or Bill Gates? I will go with Gates because I have seen what he brought to the world and Steve is yet to make miracles. Or tell me how much admire like Steve Jobs? the man who triggered the iRevolution? Do you know who preceded Jobs? Probably not. Only those who closely followed Apple know that Tim Cook is his successor. He is the exact same position now at Apple, as Jobs did but he certainly don't have that much followers yet. 

MY CONCLUSION:
Do you think a CEO should be a Visionary? The dictionary neither says so nor expect his company to have all the above above attributes I discussed. It just says "The corporate executive responsible for the operations of the firm; reports to a board of directors".

Everyone faces failure at some point of time in their life. It is a proven lesson that helps them do better in the next time they do it. This girl may be just 25, and her company may not be so famous, and they could have delayed your shipping orders. These are all just not reasons to drown them down.

There is no CEO who reached fame overnight. Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded HP in a one-car garage. 70 years later, HP has now become the World's largest PC Manufacturer. Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook.com in his college dormitory. Here is another garage story of Apple. Sam Walton, of WallMart fame started his venture with a small retain store in 1960, which expanded and went on to become the largest retailer of the world today. There are many entrepreneurs who work with sheer determination and ambitions. They may go on to become the next Bill Gates or Henry Ford. Encourage them, or at least stop demotivating them.  PERIOD.

Btw, here is the news article that took my sleep away.

Nov 27, 2011

The Clouds 365 project

I am a nature lover and I love to travel to beautiful places. I admire the way the planet has shaped itself and I astonish at the diversity it has. Humans can never artificially create something as magical as what nature has brought into our planet. Over the years, my admiration for nature has exponentially increased. Green looked gorgeous whenever I toured hill stations, red looked ravishing when I once saw sunset from Kanniyakumari, and blue is so beautiful whenever I sit at the sea shore, and stare at that deep, blue, thin imaginary line at the end of the sea. 

Sky & Clouds are the other elements that add beauty to this awe-inspiring little mass called Earth and that is the topic I planned to write about.  The Clouds 365 project!

November 24, 2011. Taken near San Antonio.
This project is a photographic experiment started by Kelly DeLay (@ravedelay) with an objective of shooting clouds 365 days an year. He started doing it on July, 1 2009 and has been successfully doing it all these days, mostly in the U.S. He also started the Clouds 365 community from which people from around the globe can post pictures. 8500 members have posted some amazing pictures over the past 870 days, and it is maintained in the website dedicated to this project.

You open that website and you see a scenic collection of snaps taken over the week. Four other navigation menus at the top helps you filter pictures based on Year, Month, Date and Time (Wow!) of the day which ranges from 10 AM to 10PM over a 1-hour split.  I thought about this man's initiative to take up a project as creative and challenging as this, and I appreciate his consistency in delivering quality pictures every day, every hour. Also interesting to see is the community contribution to the project which took it to a whole new level.


If you are a nature/photography enthusiast, this is a nice place to share and view pictures. Here are some links from the project. Using the SHARE PHOTO link on the community page, you can share your pictures.
 
www.clouds365.com/
www.clouds365.com/community
www.facebook.com/clouds365
www.twitter.com/clouds365

Nov 24, 2011

Why this Kolaveri?

If you are reading this somewhere in Siberia or in some corner of California, it is very likely that you will not know what I am writing about. All of a sudden, facebook brought it to my attention after my wall was populated with one word, repeated over and over: "Kolaveri". It is trending on Twitter big time, and it is all because of a song that has this word in it's title: Why this Kolaveri.  Before you google it out, I will tell you what it is. Kolaveri (கொலைவெறி) is a Tamil language word which would mean, "Murderous Rage" or "Deadly furor".

This song had a whooping 4 million views after just 4 days of it's release and everyone immediately started loving it. The lyric is very simple and amusing. The music makes you tap your feet, and simultaneously flip your fingers without your permission. Dhanush's voice added the right blend of informality. An attempt to try something different has turned out a huge success for Aishwarya R. Dhanush. 

Irrespective of your nationality and fluency in English, you will enjoy listening to this song. It appeared as the number one Indian trend on Twitter this 21st of November. Asia's second famous actor - Rajinikanth's daughter has found the right channel to popularize her first directorial venture: 3. (Three is the name of the movie in which this song is featured).

Update: #22 Dec, 2011
This song now has 26 Million views on You Tube.
It was featured on BBC, TIME and CNN.
Reached the 15th spot of YouTube 100 under Music category.

Here is a promotional version of that song, along with lyrics.



CAUTION:
Whether you press play or pause, it keeps playing inside you, indefinitely! Listen with care.

Nov 9, 2011

What's your Schema?


I haven't been blogging a lot these days. Many interesting topics await publishing in my Blogger draft. I am sharing here, a blog post I wrote at the beginning of this year, in a different forum. This blog is related to a non-technical topic which I choose to write in a technical way to fit that forum. If you understand what an XML and XSD is, you may like it a bit more than those who doesn't. But still, incase you don't know what it is, XML is pure plain text expressed in a particular format. XSD (XML Schema Definition) is something that defines a 'particular format'. If XSD is grammar, XML is a sentence.
So, this non-technical post is related to emotions and human psycology. A possible answer to When and Why you get frustrated? When and why you attain happiness?
You get frustrated when you are waiting in a long queue to get something from somewhere like office cafe, theatre, or a billing counter. You become happy when you get your plate of food and walk out of the queue, or when you get your ticket and walk into the movie hall, or when you finally pay the bill and walk out of the counter with your shopped stuffs.

Good, you are happy now, but you are soon to get frustrated again. You will have to take your vehicle outta the parking lot. HONK...HONK...HONK...No one moves. You slowly manage to move out of the place and then comes a "Phew!". Happy again, but screwed up sooner. You reach the traffic signal, waiting for the green bulb to glitter, amongst those awful lot of vehicles around you. Frustration surfaces again. In fact, Waiting in car would've been much better for you can have Shreya Goshal singing a super number on the stereo and/or your family/friends will be sitting with you. Think about waiting in a two-wheeler. You will have to inhale all the  exhausts from those Honda's & Hyundai's. It's the most horrible time (unless your GF/BF is sitting behind you) one can have. With all the carbon-di-oxides, monoxides & all-other-crap-oxides I inhaled over the years, I could build my own chemical compound and compete for a Nobel prize with Venkatraman Ramakrishnan. As he is from my hometown, I later choose not to compete :P. Now, forget the Nobel laurations. Most of the ideas struck you when you are waiting in a traffic signal. Even the intention to write this post occurred to me when I was waiting in a signal, this morning. By the time you complete a contemplation, the GREEN candescent comes up. Back to happy mode, you start to steer only to get frustrated by honking again at the old man in his 60's snailing in his sedan, blocking your way. Happy again, after you cross him.

So, What happens here? Why is our mind shifting to different states so much in such a short span of time? We are the reason behind that. It's all about who we think we are which is the key reason behind all your emotions. Every human being has it's own definition of itself. Say, like an XSD. You will define yourselves with certain qualities. Tall/Short, Smart/Dumb, Calm/Cantankerous, patient/short-tempered. Every incident that happens in front of you (Input XML) is validated against your definition of yourselves(XSD). If the input conform to the schema, then the successful validation takes you to a positive state of emotion (or no emotion). If the validation fails, you attain a negative state of mind.

Let's take one example in our life. You feel (or define) like a piece of work you have done (a code/doc/proposal) is done in the best possible way. Someone says, "You did an amazing job, nice work". This comment is an input to the definition of your work being the best. It validates well and you are in harmony. On the other-side, if the comment is, "This is good but could've been even better", then the validation will fail. Someone said something different from what you believe. So you reach a negative state of mind!

This schema not only includes your definition of yourselves but also on other people around you. For Example, everyone thought Sachin Tendulkar is the best ever cricketer to have played the game. He did not have a good time during 2007 which resulted in the questioning of his ability to continue. The definiton of his greatness failed the validation. Ian Chappel bluntly wrote that it's time for tendulkar to hung his boots. But when the same Tendulkar came back strong with blistering performances , it earned him not only the Player of the Year award but made Chappel to re-think and re-write his Schema :)

You want to eat as soon as you enter the Cafe. You want to watch the movie as soon as you reach the theater. You want your bill as soon as you complete your shopping. The parking lot is only for you. You want the green as soon as you enter the signal. The road is laid only for you, and you don't want oldies' obstruction who drive in front of you. All these definitions failed which lead to your frustration. When you change the definition, believe that the world is big and everyone will have a part in it, frustrations will start to reduce. You can never change the  world(input XML). You can only change the schema and you are the only person who can do it. More successful validation = lesser frustrations. The way to experience a clear and peaceful state of mind is to realize when you are not in it and why you are not in it. When I started analyzing every such situation, after reading Howard Falco's I AM, I get frustrated very less these days. This book is a very good read. In technology, the Schema never changes. You only have to put in the right XML. It's vice-versa here. I will not be surprised (or frustrated) if you disagree with this.

Oct 6, 2011

Obituary: Father of iRevolution

Very rarely did I long for someone who lived as far away from me as Steve Jobs did. The same feeling for almost everyone on the planet who were not even remotely related to Steve. His death came out as a shock-of-the-day when on Wednesday, late night, Apple announced it formally.

"We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today," the company said in a brief statement. "Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve," they added.
Steve Jobs - 1955-2011

One's legacy is determined by what the world speaks about them, after they are no more. That includes their rivals too. Here is Bill Gates' reaction.
"The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come."
Steve may be absent physically but  his stunning display of perfection and unmatchable aspiration for quality will continue to inspire us. Time after time, he sold people on a product they didn't know they needed until he invented it. And all this on an official annual salary of $1. I stand up and salute this great man who taught us what miracles can be made in 56 years, by fighting a deadly cancer. Steve is the one of the fewer Americans who went on to materialize the "American Dream", if there ever was one.

Whoever you are, Whatever you do, reading these will change the way you see yourself, and the outside world.

Here is some of my favorite quotations from him.

On Death:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it, and that is how it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It's life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.
Stanford Commencement Adress, 2005

On Design:
Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

On being prepared for the worst:

Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith.

On What happened when he tried to sell his technology to 'then' leaders:

So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, 'No.' So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you. You haven't got through college yet.'

Jobs on Jobs:
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on


On Fear of Failure:
Almost everything--all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure--these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

On How the market trend changes:

You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new.

On what he is proud about:

I'm as proud of what we don't do as I am of what we do.

On how to live:
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Oct 5, 2011

Half Empty or half full?

Read about an interesting theory that comes out of this picture below. All we have is a glass which is partly filled with water. Now an interesting question comes out:

There is a lot to learn, even from a glass of water!
Is the glass half-empty or Half full?
That's a weird question because the answer could be both. Usually, one answer first comes to your instinct, even before you realize that there is actually two different answers to it. Whatever you choose, it helps determine your ability to THINK POSITIVE.
Only one, who can see half-full glass half-empty, can make it full.
So only if you thought it is half-empty, you can add some and make it full. To generalize the principle behind it, taking our Life as example, we get many things by birth, and go on to acquire few more during our course of life, and eventually lose some due to unexpected circumstances. We fret over that loss, failing to realize that there is still more in hand, and lot more left to achieve.
Think about the speed breakers you see when you drive. We see them from a distance, slow down a bit, cross it, accelerate further, regain the momentum and continue the journey. We keep seeing many such, repeat the same sequence of actions until the destination is reached. Comparing this sequence with our lives, If obstacles are speed breakers, our sequence of reactions is entirely different from that of driving. We slow down, and go down completely. There is no 'cross-it' followed by that 'accelerate' to regain momentum. The destination remains a far cry. My Uncle always keeps this John Wicker quotation in his email signature: "Life is a long line of opportunities". Once we get over that 'obstacle' and regain momentum, we will realize that John Wicker really meant it!

On another occasion, I was attending a session on Agile Methodologies. The presenter started of with a short video clip. A tall, young blonde lady, totally drunk, walks out of a bar. Another man with long hair, and a goatee, stands at one end of a cross road. They start a conversation when the woman inquires him for direction:
Woman: "Can you tell me how to go to Hotel Caucasian?". 
Man: The place is 20 minutes from here if you take the main way.
Man: There is a short route, which can take you in just 10 minutes.
Man: I am going there. You can join me if you want. 
Woman: "Oh yes, that would be great. Thanks".

The woman agrees and they start walking. The man takes her into a dark, short lane. None of them is visible now. Darkness fills the projector, and the clip ended a second later. The presenter then asked us to guess what would 've happened to the woman. A rape looked a better possibility to me, and did so for many others. All reported events like Theft, Robbery, Rape, Murder. I added for fun, "He will turn into a Vampire and bite her neck".

To our astonishment, the presenter said, "All  of you are wrong. The woman actually reached the Hotel 10 minutes earlier". It is human nature to see the negative aspects first, before beginning a task. His theory was that developers working in Agile projects must always THINK POSITIVE. To bring out that point, he used this interesting example. If you are reading this, and you thought she would 've reached earlier as he promised, you rock! There is something special you have, which many of us doesn't. 

In case you anticipated a rape or theft, or if you considered the glass to be half-empty, you need to realize that there is one important habit you need to cultivate. I just did! It will be interesting to see how well this could help, after following it in our lives.a

Sep 30, 2011

Dusserah has begun...

It was an electrifying day @ L&T Infotech, Bangalore. Every evening-snack-goer had a shocker of an experience, once they entered the cafe which usually is an empty hall on friday evenings. I possibly though the Legends of Rock has opened a new pub at our cafeteria.

Software developers were using something they rarely do at the workplace: Legs. A dhandiya dance programme was organized in the evening. After you read that name, you would possibly expect men and women dancing in two circles, with that stick in their hands but there was no circle nor the stick. It was a huge crowd of 200 odd employees in a confined cafe, shaking their legs under serial lights. Girls went gaga, Boys went berserk. Dusserah has already begun, and it's only 4 in the evening at work!

I was watching everyone sing with a sensation, dance with a delight, as the DJ was decisively mixing AKON with A.R.Rahman, and Shakira's with Shankar Mahadevan numbers. There were 3 energetic once-more roar after the DJ was done with it all. The organizer failed to control the enthralling dancers as no one showed any intention of leaving for the day.

I tried recording some videos but the audio was not recorded properly. The sound system was far too overwhelming for my mobile to understand what just happened out there. I stepped in after an hour long hesitation, when they played a old yet super hit Tamil song: O Podu...from Gemini. It went on and on, till they finally stopped it all. Fittingly so, the DJ reserved the SONG OF THE YEAR for later, and it all ended with Dhinka Chika...Dhina Chika...

Mute (or Reduce) the volume if you are watching this video. 
video

My shirt was completely wet, all credits to the sweat. I smelled like a wet dog but nobody knew who was smelling so because everyone was (!) totally drenched. I was playing a game on phone while coming back, and I hit 3 high scores in a row. The last time I hit a high score was more than a month back. May be because of the mood I was in - the enthusiasm kept me going!

Here is a quick collection of snaps that my camera managed to capture...as the resolution was poor, due to the darkness, i did not upload individual snaps.



c

Sep 17, 2011

Story of an unsung hero

Tags : dravid retirement one day cricket
How it all began?

Date: 11 January 1973
Place: iCreate conference room, Brahma's office.

Vishnu was doing his usual day job. He and 5 of his colleagues create the soul of new human beings. They usually pick cards from a box which will have behavioral characters written on them like "Intelligence", "Integrity", "Confidence", "Beauty", and more. Every lord picks a card, and the outcome of it decides the character of the soul. In this instance, 2 out of the 5 Associate Lords were on sick leave (they actually went to watch Enter the Dragon movie which topped the charts), and only 3 Lords were on duty. This means, whatever behavior that is picked,  the person will have an unusually higher concentration of it. To their astonishment, when they took out their cards, they ALL read the same word: 

"Patience".

"Wow, this is brilliant! Only once we've picked ALL PATIENCE some 2536 years before, and that happened to become for Gautama Buddha", one of them expressed in amazement. Other one made a guess: "He is gonna become a famous saint!". The third lord uttered differently: "He will make up a world-class surgeon".

What actually happened?
He never went on to become any of it. 28 years later, he along with another similar soul tormented 11 australians by driving them to fermenting fatigue by batting all day without losing a wicket. The pinnacle moment of his life is that day which shocked the cricketing world, especially the Kangaroo continent. Check it here.

This lad from the Dravidian state of Karnataka went on to become a cricketer. He was named Rahul Dravid.
For a man of his patience, he could've well become anyone special like the Lords anticipated, but Cricket is a miraculous choice. The world witnessed what can happen with Patience+Patience+Patience!

Out of sorts, completely!
As soon as you see his name, solidty comes to the mind. When the going gets tough, Mr.Tough gets going. He looked completely out of sorts when he began his cricketing career. His first FIVE ODI scores were 3, 4, 3, 11 and 13. Fortunately for him, youngsters had more chances then, to get themselves acquainted to the international arena.

But it didn't end there...
His maiden ODI Hundred came against Pakistan in my favorite city: Chennai, but it never was a memorable day for him. It was some 3 hours before that, he was among the 11 unfortunate people who were smoked by Saeed Anwar who scored 194 runs, which then was the highest ever individual ODI score. Anwar over-shadowed Dravid's first big success!

Although Dravid never got to get as many centuries as a Sachin. He would 've done it had the total number of ODI overs been 60 or 75. He is too slow in scoring, but steady all the time. he is the best player you can send in, if you want to consolidate in the middle overs: around 15-40. His career strike-rate is just above 70. He has 83 half-centuries (wow!) and only 12 centuries (duh!). This conversion rate says it all!

Oddest ODI of Dravid
On a rather odd day, he made history by scoring the second fastest half-century by an Indian. There was some amount of aggression inside him to prove a point. As the overs came near 40th when the first wicket fell, Dravid was intentionally not sent in, considering the need for some quick runs. Three batsmen who usually bat after him went in, slogged here and there, and are back to the dressing room soon. Now it's Dravid's turn. He has to walk in at the 45th over, and there was someone inside the whole world wasn't aware of. He went on to smash Tuffey, Styris, and oram all over the park, and got to his 50 in just 22 deliveries. It was Agarkar, who still holds the record for fastest Indian 50, just a ball less than Dravid: 21 balls.

Defining record:
Only twice in the history of the ODI's, any two batsmen has put together more than 300 runs, and it's Dravid who is involved in both the partnerships. A 318 with Ganguly, and a 331 with Sachin.

Tributes to Dravid's ODI

Leaving on a high!
This post is dedicated to one of the best friends of mine, C.P.Barani:
He is one among the few who idolized Dravid before the age of 15. Watching him play when i was a kid wasn't at all a great experience. It's 4's and 6's what that you love watching as a kiddo. That is one reason why sachin was admired more than him. Perhaps I should 've born 10 years ago to have enjoyed his batting. Just 2-3 years back I gained the maturity to admire the resillience of Rahul, and the toughness of test cricket. His real cup of tea is playing the longer format, and I have another year or two, to enjoy watching him bat. It will be interesting to see the age group statistic of Rahul's and Sachin's fans. Sachin will have similar % of fans from Age 1 to 100 but Dravid will have a drastic difference from those who are above and below 20.

Close to 11,000 runs in 350 odd games still sets a very high standard. This man is no ordinary player. A street in Bangalore will be named after him soon. I wonder if India is going to get a Wall street!

Jul 25, 2011

The curious case of Dravid's bat

I like people who write English (or any language) with a good sense of humor. Andy Zaltzman is one among them. This englishman has an humorous narrative style, and a fluent vocabulary. He regularly writes in cricinfo blogs, and the one he wrote on the world cup final (it's here) will always remain my favorite.

When someone asked a question, "I wonder how many time did Rahul Dravid tap his bat on the ground". And while responding to that lethargic remark, here is what Andy Z observed.
 "In answer to the query about the number of times Dravid has tapped his bat on the pitch, he has now faced 29364 balls (and counting) in his Test career. Let us assume that he taps the pitch an average of 6.5 times per ball when he is facing, and 3.7 times per ball when he is the non-striker, plus an additional 11.2 times between overs. And let us assume that, whilst batting, he has not faced as many balls as he has faced. Using my special abacus, I therefore calculate that Dravid has tapped the pitch approximately 409,138 times in his Test career. Give or take."

Quite an interesting personality, isn't he? You can read his blogs here, and even follow him on twitter here: @ZaltzCricket

Jul 17, 2011

Deiva Thirumagal - Movie review

Deiva Thirumagal (தெய்வத்திருமகள்) is a 165 minute video of true love between two kids, one aged 30, and the other, 5. Vikram, one of my favorite hero took everyone's breath away with his master-class act, playing the former, while a cute little never-known-before age-5 angel, whose name I am still trying to find out, stole the entire show. Both of them deserve a National award for their hard-work in this movie.

Like I always do, my reviews neither describe the story, nor rate it with a 5-point scale. I simply express my views about the movie, while suppressing the story at the same time. I don't want to ruin the suspense package by revealing it to someone who has not yet seen the movie. Whenever I love watching a movie, I encourage others to watch it by writing a blog about it. 

About the movie and Vikram...

This movie exceeded the expectations of many people and has given some real food for Vikram's brilliance. Giving him Masala movies and action roles is like sending in Sachin Tendulkar at No.11. There are other heroes like Vijay who can do such 'any-man-can-do' roles. "Dr. Chiyaan Vikram", read the title scroller. I never knew when he got it, but I am damn sure he deserve it. He has another 10 years of active-acting in him and I will be disappointed if he doesn't deliver 5 more such-roles. To me, He is the only man, close to Dr.Kamal hasan, when it comes to creative efforts and 'converting-into-the-character'. Surya is another person, although he chooses to remain in the commercial track, which keeps him going.

Good show by  the cast....

Not a tough job for the costume designer as anyway, Anushka wears the lawyer rope all the time, while Vikram immerses inside one of his two sweaters throughout the movie. Nasar portrayed that Senior Lawyer very well, but I thought Prakash raj would 've fit into that role very well. Anushka played an entirely different role, keeping aside her chubby smiles, and hip-hop masala-movie hoorays.Well done Anu.

Thumbs up to the dialogue writer..

Dialogue writing was crisp and commendable. There were few few words that gave big big impacts. When Amala Paul ask that little girl, "Why do you want your dad? Can't you live with us here?", she cutely responds back, saying, 'You live with your dad. Why shouldn't I live with mine?". That feeble voice not only silenced Amala but the entire audience. Thumps up to the dialogue writer. Santhanam, although not at his blistering best, made the best use of the opportunity and cracked some witty remarks wherever possible

An ace director is emerging...

I almost appreciated director A. L. Vijay for conceiving such a creative story, but later I got to know that the story line is based on "I am Sam", a 2001 Sean Penn starred English movie. Still, directing such a crew is really commendable and Vijay deserves laudations. This is the same man who gave us "madarasapattinam" last year. Music is pleasing through out the movie. G.V.Prakash is slowly reaching toward greater heights. All the best to him.

The show stealer...

Rightly so, the person goes behind the movie title. It's the cute little kid that stole the show. I searched "Deivathirumagal Cast" on google, but unfortunately, no one had any mention of this girl. Really shocking because the story is all about her life, and the credit is taken by others. After serious googling, She turns out to be, "Baby Sara", whose history and geography will soon get published on south Indian magazines. Talking about her performance, she blew away not only my mind but both body and soul. At her age, performing such a role is truly world class. Really loved it. After  the children I saw in Kannathil Muthamittal, Jillunu oru kadal, and Siruthai, this girl has entered the list of my favorite child actors.

Message?

Hmm...probably the integrity and love that vikram portrays. The man has no use of his senses, but he is truly inspiring. He puts his mind to work, which is very obvious at the end of the movie. We all are physically and mentally capable of using all our senses, but we possess not even half as much probity and love for others as what Vikram possess. Shame on me :(

Reactions from the audience...

I seriously cried on many occasions, and the longest one came at the end of the movie, when they both hugged each other. I was not the only person in the theatre hall who dropped a tear. Even the hardest of hearts cannot stand a chance of coming out of the movie without dropping a tear. The sun was shining at its best when we walked in, but after the movie, the whole place was full of water. Whether it was because of the tear drops of the audience, or because of the rain that just started, I couldn't figure out. Stared home after a greater deal of satisfaction.

Jul 10, 2011

What is Maan Karate?

A non-tamil speaking friend of mine did not come across this legendary skill, and I thought of introducing this art of the underworld. I remember one of my high school English text book, having a lesson titled, "Karate: a mighty weapon with the empty hand". I never knew what was the main content because I had the option to skip the questions under that lesson, thanks to the education system which gave me a only 3 out of 5 - choice

This is one of the smartest karate, if not powerful, invented in Tamilnadu, by a much recognised man called Thaamu. There are different versions of martial arts. Japanese karate known for its strength, Chinese kungfu known for its flexibility, Boxing known for its punches and etc etc. But no one of the above mentioned could come near Maan karate.

Maan in tamil means " Deer". The main rules of Maan karate is as follows.
  1. Be flexible and fit like a deer.
  2. Build up muscles like a deer.
  3. Exercise each single free hour like a deer.
  4. Be sharp and sensitive like a deer.
  5. Look and listen to every movements like a deer.
  6. Have your own weapon of choice like a deer having its horns.
  7. In case of danger first run like a deer and then think what to do.
This is quite easy to learn, and really helpful in danger situations. Just start running like how a deer will do when it encounters an approaching tiger. Happy learning :)

Jun 27, 2011

Sachin & Bharat Ratna

I saw a Facebook event wherein an enthusiastic, charged up team of Indian youngsters have decided to protest against the government for not conferring Sachin Tendulkar with the country's highest civilian honor: Bharat Ratna. Well, to start with, I am big fan of Sachin Tendulkar. I love him a lot. He is my hero. I do admire him like any other Indian. He had made the nation proud on lot of occasions, but I will not agree with the illogical fight for Bharat Ratna. Those who are fighting madly and blindly for it, I wanted to ask them one question: "Do you know what Bharat Ratna is, at all?"

It is India's most prestigious award given to recognize those people who have made our country proud by excelling in their own fields and bringing us international recognition. So, Yes, Sachin's excellence in his field is unquestionable. It did take the our country to greater heights in the international stage. But the award has no mention of sports. Quoting from the official page, It is only given for exceptional service towards advancement of Art, Literature and Science, and in recognition of Public Service of the highest order.

As far as i know, Sachin is a big fan of Lata Mangeshkar, but never before I saw him sing like her, nor did he do a Sir.C.V.Raman effect or anything near to Dr.AP.J Abdul Kalam's contribution in the field of science. Philantrophy? Yes. He has been doing some great things silently. Tendulkar sponsors 200 underprivileged children every year through Apnalaya, a Mumbai-based NGO associated with his mother-in-law, Annabel Mehta. A request from Sachin on Twitter raised Rs.1.025 crore (US$228,575) through Sachin's crusade against cancer for the Crusade against Cancer foundation. But no way, his contributions are near the great women, Mother Teresa.

Human mind stops working when the emotions are in action. Love, by nature, possess the highest level of emotion. The overwhelming love for Sachin actually stops the logical reasoning department's job in the brain and the fallacious reasoning leads to such outcry. Realize that this award has nothing to do with the greatness of Sachin. He got the highest civilian award for contribution in sports way way back in 1998. Do you know what that award is? Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award [Here is the complete list]. Conferring him with Bharat Ratna will actually require some change of rules, inside which I see no point in. Come on, there is already an award for SPORTS and he got it.
Sachin Tendulkar: 38 years, 38 achievements
The first cricketer to be honored with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the highest honour given to an Indian sportsperson.

Even if it is given, I will not be surprised to see them fighting again, for a Dronacharya Award or even worser, a Param Vir Chakra. For those who have no idea about who won it before, here is  a Complete list of recipients. Now, there might be people who you think doesn't deserve it, I want to tell you, but please don't connect that with Sachin. So, my dear friends, Keep loving Sachin like you always do, cheer him up for his upcoming landmark - 100 Hundreds. I tried to start a twitter trend: #1002 but it did not allow me to add super-script. Please put your mind to work for a while, before you start any argument in your life.

Jun 25, 2011

1 line of code = 1 tree planted

At some point of time, we ask ourself this famous question: Are we contributing anything to our environment? Avoiding plastics and taking your own big bag while you go out for shopping? Proper disposal of waste? Conscious use of electricity? Taking that long walk or using the public transport while keeping your vehicle at home whenever possible? Opting for phone/internet bills by e-mail than by post, thereby saving some paper usage?

These are little little things that makes a greater difference when many people start following it. If 10,000 people follow the conscious-electricity-use way, think about the amount of electricity that gets saved on an overall! When something is done as a group, the impact made is quite remarkable. I wanted to connect this with the software that we engineers develop at our work place.

We transformed the way people live, travel and converse. We reduced the use of huge amount of paper by digitizing millions of data that once upon a time got printed on paper. That reduced the consumption of paper, which in turn reduced the paper requirement for human survival and eventually it all reduced the TREE-CUT-DOWN rate. Every line of program we write, computerizes some process somewhere on earth and helps people save time, money, energy and resources. If a penny saved is a penny earned, then a tree saved is a tree planted.

Be proud to be a software engineer, if you are one. Feel good that you are contributing to environment preservation. Without our knowledge, we are indeed saving the environment in some way or the other. Also spare a few minutes and think about the contribution you will make, if you decide to follow the little-little things I mentioned earlier!  You will make even greater difference! When you persuade your friends to do so, more difference is made. And I just did that, by writing this post ;)

Here is some good little-little tips, that will make a greater difference. Clink on this image to begin the journey.


Jun 12, 2011

The 'new' Largest Country!

"Whaaaaaaaat?", I exclaimed in amazement as if Sachin Tendulkar announced his retirement.  My brother told me the name of a country that has that just swift past through everyone and reached the TOP position.

Which is the world's most populated country? Undoubtedly China. India, though less than half the geo size of China and not even one-fourth of the U.S' geo, still managed to stay a bit behind the bejing brothers. Someone started very late: as late as 2004 and in just around 6 years, knocked these  two out and reached  the top. The Father of this new country is none other than America's youngest billionaire and the TIME Magazine's 2010 Person of the Year: Mark Zuckerberg. I am talking about Facebook here, the world's most visited website, after Google.com 
If Facebook is a country, it would be the 3rd largest, behind only China and India. 
The sentence above, I wrote 8 months back! Facebook has even surpassed China's population. If Facebook's users are a country, it would be the largest in the world! One Tenth of entire humanity owns a facebook account. They speak 75 languages and collectively lavish more than 700 billion minutes on Facebook every month. Last month, the site accounted for 2 out of every 4 American page views. Its membership is currently growing at a rate of about 130,000 people a day.

It's amazing,  how Zuckerberg made this happen in less than just 7 years. Though I first decided to write this blog entry, to announce the largest-country thing, I later made up  my mind to contemplate on the possible answers to one not-so-new-question: Why Facebook succeeded?

So, Facebook succeeded because of?

Ans 1:  Its Founder. 

This man, Mark Zuckerberg, a.k.a Zuck featured in the TIME magazine's list of TOP 10 College Drop-outs, a list that included renowned names like Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Steve Jobs (Apple). Although stories revealed that Zuck stole this idea of a social networking platform from his Harvard seniors, I feel that Facebook wouldn't 've been  this successful had it been developed by someone else, who worked for 'just' money. Like it was screen-played on The Social Network movie, Zuck always wanted to build something COOL. His intent was never to make money. Everytime his so-called co-founder made monetisation attempts, Zuck discouraged him. He let his imagination grow and went on to add everything he felt would add to the cool-quotient. There were so many people who approached Zuck with billions of dollars to acquire FB but he turned down all of them.

Terry Semel, the former CEO of Yahoo! who reportedly offered Zuckerberg that sum, told the New Yorker that he'd never met a person who would turn down a $1 billion offer. "He [Zuckerberg] said, 'It's not about the price. This is my baby, and I want to keep running it, I want to keep growing it.'" Semel said, recalling his conversation with Zuckerberg in 2006, "I couldn't believe it."

That kind of a belief, intent and determination is what that is required to make something succeed to this extent.

Ans 2:  Its Technology. 

Think about this: You update your facebook status, and you get the message, "Some problem occurred while updating your status. Try again after some time". Twitter show that often but never in your facebooking history would you encounter such a message, unless you borrowed your internet modem from Vasco da gama or availed the internet connection during World War II. 

I have seen facebook loading like a whisker even in slower connections where even Google.com will delay to load. Such is the kind of hardware and sofware systems that has been developed and administered by facebook. It is an invincible revolution toward technology. It's probably the world's most robust system ever built by mankind. The servers process updates to Facebook users' pages as quickly as possible, so that a comment or post is live within seconds. Multiply that across 850 million (and counting) users and the power of the data center becomes awesome indeed. Scaling up of the servers is always a challenge at facebook as the number of users exponentially increase at an extreme rate. Think about code check-ins. Have your ever noticed a facebook downtime for site maintenance? Never. The are thousands and thousands of code that gets checked-in LIVE, in a sophisticated way. They call it Facebook Push. The way facebook store, retrieve,  and  present information is unbelievably amazing. Think about the dynamic privacy options: For every single user, it has to maintain data sets to show What and What Not. Also think how seamless has the Social plugins integrated various websites? It will require a dedicated blog to write about the Facebook Engineering team's brilliance. Your status message and party pictures are stored in one of the boxes shown below. Check out more cool images here.

Facebook data center
Ans 3:  Its Employees. 

Zuck can be like M.S.Dhoni. Both has the right mix of talent and overwhelming luck. When you are leading a big team, you need productivity from your colleagues. Neither does Dhoni can bat for full 50 overs nor does Zuck can code for 24 hours. You just need to keep the people around you excited about what they do.  When Dhoni was in there, he kept the team's morale in great spirit. The intent for the boys to perform was always there. Zuck had a very different way of handling his employees. He created an environment where people are at their lively best, from where real creativity can originate from. The typical corporate hierarchy and infrastructure is no where to be found in Facebook offices!

The space is open plan: no cubicles, no offices, no walls, just a rolling tundra of office furniture. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's COO, who used to be Lawrence Summers' chief of staff at the Treasury Department, doesn't have an office. Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO and co-founder and presiding visionary, doesn't have an office. 
Yes, it's an office!
This work culture combined with fat pay checks and real food for challenge encouraged every aspiring technologist to join Facebook. A day was there in which joining Microsoft or Google seemed to be the biggest achievement. These aren't happening any more. Many Googlers are rapidly filling facebook positions of late!

There were some rumors that a Google employee was offered 3.5 Million, not to join Facebook. Lars Rasmussen, the founder of the highly successful Google Maps project, left Google and joined Facebook after Zuck sent him a job offer with a 'cool' description: "Come hang out with us for a while, and we'll see what happens". Lars pointed out that the energy out there was just tremendous. That's what you want to succeed in your business: "Empowered Employees". Here is some more cool images.

Ans 4:  Its Idea.

"Giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected", states the site's home page. Facebook did not create any content on it's own like news websites do. It provided a platform where it's users can share all the content out there in the world wide web. It makes use of user's creativity and generates traffic. Think about that amazing dance video link you shared on FB some time back. 1 million video views would account to 1 million facebook page views. There will be tens of thousands of such videos  out there, being shared over and over. We read more news on Facebook than we do by opening news websites or watching televison. 

While all that would be just trivial, what matters the most is what you update about your own life. You are given a medium to record almost every event of your life, with the people in your life. Be it the day you gradauted or got a job, and proudly posted it on your facebook wall, or be it the picnic pictures you recently clicked, or the video you shot, or that private group you created for your own gang. Pictures, Videos, Groups, Blogs (Notes), and what else you want? 
"Facebook is a good friend. He is there waiting for you to pour out your feelings when you are lonely, Celebrate when you're happy and simply an uncomplaining spectator when you want to shoutout all the phases of your life. I don't care if the creator of FB is an atheist or a saint, this does not mean members are also the same. This is simply amazing how you can communicate and reach out to far flung places. Thanks FB!", writes Claudette Kim.

So, Where is the money?
From where comes the money to build and maintain all this? Have you ever paid a penny for using your facebook account? Do you know how many billions of dollars it would require, to maintain an user base facebook has? That is the master idea I am talking about. Initially, Zuck hated the way of keeping Ads. But later, he incorporated them in such a way that user's experience is hardly hampered. The best part is the intelligent Audience Targeting of these Ads. Without your knowledge, by analyzing your activities on facebook, the system generates your likes and dislikes and shows up ads accordingly. Changing your relationship status to ENGAGED would prompt the system to show wedding arrangements related Ads on your profile! God knows if changing to married would show up Honeymoon packages :P

Because of this reason, Facebook has high CTR than any other internet advertising business. By the way, CTR means, Click Through Rate, an internet marketing term which is a measure of the number of times the ad link has been viewed.

Jun 9, 2011

Blown away, just now!

[Skip this post if you don't have a facebook account. I have written 126 other posts that might bore you :D]

This day, few minutes ago:
Stumbled upon a terrific post in my Facebook news feed by my dearest friend: Karthik Murugesan. I was blown away after I opened it up. It was not a kind of post that you simply click LIKE or share it and say - Wow, superb, and move on. It was a kind of a post that requires calling up the entire humanity on earth and tell them, "Come on guys and girls. You should see how beautiful it is. Truly terrific."  So, is there a better way to reach out to the whole world than a blog post? That's why I wrote this. If you want to spend one worthful hour, going thoroughly through this will just be it.

Right. Let me stop the build up. As an improving writer, one of the tips I learnt is, make the reader go till the last line, if s/he ever starts to read. What wondered me is a glimpse of one of my growing interest: Photography. Some awesomely captured pictures of "singara" Chennai. Having lived there for 3 years now, I never knew Chennai is this much beautiful. Aspiring photographers all over chennai have galored together with their masterpieces in a facebook group:  I ♥ Chennai. Go ahead and enjoy the pictures. I am sure you will appreciate the creative work. Click the picture below, and it will take you to the dream destination.




Jun 1, 2011

Google, GPS & Me

[Written with Blogger for Android]

It is always scary when you wake up out of no where, during a long journey, especially at the middle of the night, and you ask youself one single question: "Where the hell am I?". I don't know how people manage to get down on time, during a over-night travel. Possible ways would be,
  1. Don't sleep. Keep your eyes wide open. Get down on time. (Only maniacs do this)
  2. Keep an alarm. Traditional way. If it is a frequently traveled destination, you would eventually know the approximate travel time. You can get down easily, unless you don't sleep desspite the alarm.
  3. Tell the driver. He knows when the place comes, and he can get you down on time.
  4. Board the bus that has your destination as the last point, which ensures that will always get down on the right place. Even if you over-sleep, you will still get kicked out.
That's all I know. This is such a simple task and there won't be much possibilities. If you know other ways of getting-down-on-time, I am eager to see you write a comment about it. For the current trip, I used a combination of 2 & 3. I told the driver that I wanted to get down in Chidambaram, and he nodded. On the safer side, while I started at 12 AM, I kept an alarm on 3:20 AM, which is very earlier than the average time, which is 4 hours. I slept deeply, despite the humpy-bumpy jerks and still managed to wake up 4 minutes before 3:20 AM.

A quick peek outside revealed a vast majority of darkness and a little of paddy plantations. You have lot such plantations throughout Tamil Nadu, and you will never clearly ge to know where you are. The operating officer boy did not come to wake me up also. I advanced the alarm by 20 more minutes, and slept again. When I woke up again, witnessed a similar sight, as if the bus did not move for a longer while. Same darkness and plantations, and  no damn idea where I was. Suddenly it struck me that I could take my phone out, and identify the location. One of the advantages of using an Android powered phone.

While the Google Maps app started to load, I prepared my mind for embarrassment. I personally felt that I screwed up, and pondered over the possible options. And few seconds later, I found out that I have crossed my destination, and I am now near mayiladuthurai a.k.a mayavaram, a place 60 miles away. While there was some disappointment, I did not worry much. I prepared myself for that situation in advance, and felt fortunate to have found it this earlier. This bus goes to pattukottai, a place 500+ miles from home....I only asked myself, "what next??".

Well at 4 in the night, you can never do any 007 heroics in India. You just have to get down at the next recognizable location and take another bus back home. I did that, and that's where I am writing this blog from: "Mayavaram bus Stop". I was lucky to get a chidambaram bus here, and I am on the way home now.

After all this happened, a little idea struck my mind. How about an intelligent alaram that will wake you up when you near your destination? This requires a solution that makes use of the Navigation API and Alarm API. Scope is simple. I lock a location. It should ring when I near it.

Any takers? I was very good at ideas but the laziest out there, when it comes to implementing it on my own. If I still overcome my lazynesss and go on to build such an app, I will blog it, surely!

#Update: My friend vivek told me that such an app already exist in the Android Market, and it eats a lot of your battery. Well, it have to as it requires continuous checks between the current location and destination!

May 29, 2011

R O A R :)

Chennai-ku!
Well, we were the defending champions. We proved it once again. What a terrific game of cricket we have seen today! 72 games over a tiring long tournament, and at the end of it all, Chennai Super Kings lead by Captain Cool, the Think Tank - Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men have pulled out a blinder of a performance to stand-still the visiting Bangaloreans and clinched the Trophy for one more time!
The Champ is here
 It is very much disappointing for a team that has reached the IPL Finals TWICE in FOUR editions, but still couldn't handle the nerves and emerge on the successful end. 
Everyone has always said that Dhoni is a Lucky man. Indeed he is. Despite his efforts, his teammates come up with flying colors every game. It is also the responsibility of the captain to keep his team's morale in the right direction. It is pretty much proved that trusting one single player will only lead to jeopardy. Gayle's Duck proved exactly that.
Gayle lit up the IPL on fire as soon as he arrived, but couldn't match up with big games. Chennai was just sensational. They did not rely on any single player for success. In every game, one of them contributed greatly. Even there were 2 league games where Saha and Aniruddha contributed toward win. This side is amazingly balanced in such a way that you always have someone contributing every game.
This stat proves it all: None of CSK batsmen made it to the TOP-5 run getters in the tournament, and none of CSK bowlers made it to the TOP-5 wicket takers list. This clearly tells us how even the contribution from the players is. Another interesting fact is the middle order strength. After FIVE DOWN, you still have ALBIE MORKEL and DWAYNE BRAVO. That's a kind of line up you can never contain, in a 20 over game. Always CSK stared slowly, but improved the momentum at the end. 
Albie Morkel and Suresh Raina were amazing during the SEMI FINALS. Murali Vijay and Micheal Hussey was mind-blowing during the final, with a 159 partnership for the first wicket!

This Victory is an apt recognition to a TEAM that really proved themselves as an epitome of that word, and remained victorious in the end. Let's ROAR fans. For our great CSK. Here is me, celebrating this IPL 4 Victory with a brilliantly edited video from Vinod. Just embedded below !!!

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