RNG

Aug 192013
 

I hate speed breakers as much as the guy next door. They are a nuisance, uncomfortable and sometimes scratches the car’s belly! A long uncomfortable ride back home in a cab made me think about this – when almost everyone agrees that it is a nuisance, why is it so widespread in Bangalore?

I have been to other cities abroad, in India and many even within Karnataka where the speed breakers are not so rampant. It makes more sense in Bangalore because

1. Nobody knows what STOP sign means. I haven’t seen anyone follow the stop sign the way we are supposed to – slow down, bring the vehicle to a halt and slowly accelerate; so there’s no point in replacing speed breakers with STOP signs when nobody is following it, with hardly anyone enforcing it.

2. Making dangerous/rash driving illegal just doesn’t cut it. When people know they can get away with petty crimes like rash driving, nobody takes this seriously. This is a big blow to the safety of other commuters.

3. There is no real escaping from the discomfort – You can be rich and influential enough to get away with rash driving in India, but, you can’t easily escape from the discomfort speed-breakers cause! It hurts everyone, so there is a big incentive to slow down and be careful.

I agree that there are a lot of unnecessary bumps but the bumps themselves aren’t unnecessary.

Now, I am wondering, why not have narrow slots within the bumps! Something that makes bumps look like this  ——-__———-__———- (Patent pending :P)? If you speed past through, you pay the price of course, however, if you slowdown enough to carefully go between the slots, you don’t have to face any discomfort!

Just a random thought.

 

 Posted by at 10:57 am
May 272013
 

I am not a very big fan of sandwiches. So, when my girlfriend spoke very highly of a sandwich shop near her place, I was naturally uninterested. Yesterday, we just happened to cross by Hari Super Sandwich and I was dragged to give it a shot. I ordered a capsicum cheese sandwich and it was surprisingly delicious! The best sandwich I have ever tasted.

What makes it taste so divine? Wish I knew! The bread looks ordinary, they aren’t even sandwich bread, it looks like the ones that are available in typical Iyengar bakeries, the sandwich is not grilled but toasted on a tawa, and the sandwich is cut into 9 cubes – inviting to be bitten.

The taste of the perfectly toasted bread, the aroma of liquid cheese and the crunchiness of the fresh capsicums was a heavenly combination. It was unlike any other sandwich I have ever eaten. I ordered a chocolate sandwich, which tasted great too albeit a bit salty, probably from the salted cheese that they use. You also get yummy dahi boondi, which can be a great refresher during the summers.

For once, the user reviews on Zomato have done justice to this place.  Sorry, I had no time to take pictures this time. For pictures and more reviews, please visit:

http://www.zomato.com/bangalore/hari-super-sandwich-jayanagar

Verdict: Highly Recommended.

 Posted by at 5:24 pm
Apr 092013
 

I think it is almost 14 years now, since I was introduced to the world of internet. A couple of years before that, not unlike most kids of my age during the 90′s, I was very excited about computers. God alone knows how many times I have drawn the basic diagram of  a general purpose computer. Just the very fact of drawing the Monitor, CPU and Input Device used to give me kicks. For a long time, computer was a device on which you could play games – space commanders, digger, Dangerous Dave and Prince. I distinctly remember waiting for the computer class to play games, most of us had to wait for our turn while a select few got our chance to play on the computer. You had to be good at it, if you die soon (in the game, of course), you go to the back of the line and wait for your turn again. Oh did I mention, we turned this into a multi-player game, one would control the direction keys and other one is in charge of the gun (spacebar). On a lucky day, I would get a chance to play twice during the computer period. One period in a week!

Image of Space Commanders

 

Almost nobody in my class had a computer at home, except my close friend Shreyas. I remember playing Gorilla in his house. It was a very rudimentary game. Now, I cannot believe someone designed an angry birds of the 90s game where you had to input the projection angle manually and we have played this for hours sometimes even using a protractor!

Check out the input prompt for angle in degrees at the top left corner

Check out the input prompt for angle in degrees at the top left corner

Slowly I realized a computer could much more than just play games. I once was laughed at when I had proudly answered the question “What is the purpose of space-bar?” with to shoot aliens! 

We graduated to class 5 and were introduced to programming. It was a big shift. My first programming language was LOGO, (I am thinking I should add this to my CV now) except that it wasn’t really a programming language. Move the turtle forward, take a right turn, take left, pen up, pen down. oh boy! This is during the same time Jurassic Park was released in India (1993). I had an unimaginable amount of respect to the the animators of the Jurassic Park, mostly because, my computers teacher had told me that this movie was made in a similar fashion, using LOGO I mean. Of course, now I know that statement is ridiculous, but it was very inspiring back then.

Drawing a square in LOGO

Drawing a square in LOGO

I realize this post is going to blow up if I start writing more. I will continue this post and make it a series! In the next post, I will talk about how I became a proud owner of a Floppy disk!

PS: You can still play all these games on PC using DOSBox - http://sourceforge.net/projects/dosbox/?source=dlp

 Posted by at 10:27 am
Nov 122012
 

I was a big fan of Windows Live writer (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-live/essentials-other-programs). It would automatically import my blog template into the UI and was a super friendly WYSIWYG editor. I am writing this blog post from Word 2013 on my Windows 8 box. If everything goes well, which I hope, blogging would become incredibly simple and I will publish more content on my blog instead of trying to fit all my thoughts within 160 characters.

Alright. So here it goes..

 Posted by at 8:19 pm
Aug 282012
 

I love my Kindle! It is one of the best investments I have made. I can take all my books with me and buy a book whenever I want, without having to commute far to buy in a physical store nor having to wait for order delivery when I buy online. Instant gratification means a lot to me!

Kindle is obviously much cheaper in US and I don’t mind ads when I am not reading a book, I bought the ‘bare bone’ $79 Kindle from Amazon. I have some books with me that are available only in the US region and recently Amazon launched Kindle store in India with substantially lower prices to adjust for the prices of books in India and I was wondering how I can switch to the Indian store and still keep my old books from Amazon US.

I know that I could use a different login ID and re-register my Kindle to an indian id, but I was afraid I’d lose my old collection.

Then the idiot in me decided to check with customer support from Amazon. While I was waiting for them to come back, I just tried logging in and searched for books. Voila! I was taken to the Indian store and I could buy books in INR!

So in short – you don’t need to do anything! Just login from India and start using. If it still doesn’t work, update your address with your Indian address and you should be good to go.

So, why was I confused? Thanks to proxy in my office. I use our corpnet proxy in office which makes Amazon think I am in US and send me straight to US Kindle store.

image

I can now enjoy best of both worlds.

Also, people who are specifically looking for a link to Kindle store India – http://www.amazon.com/kindlestoreindia

I don’t advise people to buy Kindle in India considering it is ridiculously priced. For those who could care less – http://www.cromaretail.com/e-Book-Readers-c-23.aspx lets you buy Kindle with bill and warranty! 

Dec 072011
 

Unlike people who buy Gold and Real Estate, gadget lovers have to move on to flashier ones quite often and depreciation of the value doesn’t help either!

I was wondering what to do with my old Samsung Omnia B7610 Pro (whatta name!) after I upgraded to a Windows phone. No one wants to buy it on tech forums and I hate to let it collect dust in a corner of my room!

Coming to the point, letsbuy.com offers a nice deal where they buy your used stuff and give you a discount coupon which you can use in the next 3 months. I got a very fair price of 6500 for my 2 year old phone. However, if something is too good to be true, it probably is – there’s a catch here. You can use that coupon to buy items that are at least 5 times it’s value AND the price you see after you enter details may not be the actual price they are willing to pay for it. Please go through the rules carefully if you are considering to sell your used stuff here.

I want to take a shot at this as I was anyway planning to go for a HDTV in the future. Let’s see how it goes, I will update this post when I get my coupon Smile 

Before I forget, here’s the link:

http://buyback.letsbuy.com/

Happy Shopping!

Sep 122011
 

Let’s face it. You can’t really live everyday of your life like it’s your last. When Marcus Auerlius said “Live not one’s life as though one had a thousand years, but live each day as the last.", I am sure he didn’t consider people would have to work to live and survive.

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I was reading a post by Scott McIntyre on The Quickest way to Reveal What Really Matters in Life where Scott suggests a very thought provoking exercise –

You just have to ask yourself this little question:

If you could plan it, how would you spend your last day on Earth?

Scott believes Trying out this exercise will focus your mind and give you perspective on what really matters the most to you. The question might be basic, but the answers will be huge.

I tried this exercise and the answers I found led me to an entirely different conclusion – I don’t have to wait till the last days of my life to strike items off my bucket list !

Now that I know what matters most in my life and the things I would want to do on the last day of my life, I will plan to achieve them sometime very soon and go through this exercise again – to identify more things that I would want to do on the last day of my life and consciously try to achieve them in the shortest possible time. Over a long run and several such iterations, I would have in fact managed to live a few days like it is the last day of my life!

Jul 032011
 

I started watching Game of Thrones as I have run out of series to follow! It is an epic story of Kings, Queens, Dwarves, Dragons et al. beautifully interweaved into a highly unpredictable plot. I love Fantasy – mainly in books. The movies always disappoint me. When I watched Eragon, I couldn’t help myself grumbling Whaaa over and over, however, Game of Thrones is different.

To begin with, I did not read the book before I watched the series and I loved every moment in the series. Wonderful characters, witty dialogues – although the language doesn’t sound archaic like in most fantasy stuff and a very interesting plot. Let me stop you before you rush to buy the DVD to gift your 12 year old niece – There is nudity involved and the director has made no attempts to underemphasize. So, If I were you, I wouldn’t watch it with family!

I finished watching the entire series in 3 days – you know how! I can’t wait for the next season to begin so I started reading the second book – Clash of Kings.

My favorite characters so far have been Arya and the dwarf Tyrion Lannister. Peter Dinklage’s exceptional performance thoroughly deserves an Emmy! I am glad they are still alive. One thing which is very different from other series/movies is that there is no protagonist here and the writer doesn’t mind killing the good guy. This is what I enjoy most in the movie – it is not a moral story!

I hope my my humble attempt to lure you into watching this will work. Let me know if you watch it, like it or don’t like it in the comments!

May 022011
 

A quick post here to help folks who get stuck while installing WAMP server on Windows PCs that has SQLServer or IIS installed.

I downloaded WAMP server to test some PHP scripts locally and to my surprise it wouldn’t start! It would just show an orange icon in the Notification Bar and browsing to http://localhost wouldn’t bring up the index.php page.

I was pretty sure I wasn’t running IIS on this machine. I use the Cassini to test ASP.net pages. Running netstat –ano dumped all the network connections that were open on my system.

Active Connections

  Proto  Local Address          Foreign Address        State           PID
  TCP    0.0.0.0:80             0.0.0.0:0              LISTENING       4

Interesting. There is something listening on PORT 80 with PID = 4. Let’s examine what it is.

Launched Task Manager, made sure the PID is selected from View –> Select Columns and also clicked on “Show processes from all users”

image

A system process running under system account is listening on port 80! I suspect it is the SQL Server Reporting Services that is causing the problem, but I didn’t bother to verify. Why?

I figured out it would be easier to configure Apache to run on a different port!

Click on Wamp icon is the task bar, under Apache, select httpd.conf to open the Apache Configuration page in Notepad.

You should see text similar to this:

# Change this to Listen on specific IP addresses as shown below to
# prevent Apache from glomming onto all bound IP addresses.
#
#Listen 12.34.56.78:80
Listen 80

Modify the uncommented line and choose a different port, I chose 8081

Listen 8081

Voila! Restart all services and you should now see a green faced happy WAMP icon in the system tray!

Mar 212011
 

I am posting this from my phone, so I will keep this short.

If you use more than one calendar service on your wp7 like I do and wondering why an event that you added to say, Google calendar on the web is not reflecting yet on your phone or wondering how to force it to reflect on your phone, here is what I found:

The calendar syncs with your email account, hence, although you do not see an option to force sync in the calendar itself, you can do it by pressing the refresh icon in your corresponding mailbox!

Bonus tip:

Did you know that you can ignore your toast alerts by sliding it right? I was always wondering how to do this, when I used to get an SMS alert!

Posted from WordPress for Windows Phone

 Posted by at 5:06 am