Sunday, December 14, 2008

White Tiger and the Cab driver

Finally managed to finish reading White Tiger this weekend. I wouldn't rate it too high. The book does provoke your thoughts, bring out the hollowness that we city people are embracing day by day, the stark reality of the poor and the sad state of affairs our country. However, I didn't like the narration too much. The idea of someone writing to a Chinese diplomat about his life story and India in general is a little weird. The language is also just average. My best part of the story, and something to which I can relate to well.. the last bit about the story of the cab drivers in Bangalore. And this is also what I got reminded of when driving to work today morning.

This was on the Intermediate ring road. An indica cab to my left wanted to join my lane while I wanted to continue to go straight. I was too close to him, with a sumo cab right next to me on my right. I slowed down with the intention of letting him and so also the sumo fellow to go. However, it so happened that I managed to go right after the sumo. The cab driver then had to negotiate the right with the car behind me. And now what happened I saw it all from my rearview mirror, while trying to concentrate on driving. So something must have happened between the cab driver and the i10 behind me.. both the cars were moving forward, very slowly, with the drivers abusing each other. The next thing I know is that the cab driver overtakes the i10, and stops right infront of it, blocking him completely. He gets out of his car and goes back to fight with the i10 guy. The traffic on the ring road ofcourse suffered. A few meters away from this scene, the traffic police guy was just watching this helplessly ! I just ran sped fast from that place.. thanking my stars that it wasn't me who had got on the wrong side of the cab driver. God only knows what would have happened to me if I had got caught in that mess. That has just not been part of my driving lessons.. oops, some news lessons in order, for me and also for the driving schools: "How to combat cab drivers when driving on Bangalore roads". I fear much more as I do not speak the local language and amidst all the ongoing state wars, who knows when a small incident like this could turn into anything major !

Technical Blog

Have now moved my technical blog to Linux Hacks. Its a combined blog of Varun, Cheezo, UD, ego & yours truely !

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Learning new stuff

Last couple of months have been amazing in terms of the number of new things that I have done and learnt. As I had mentioned in one of my previous posts, started to learn to drive. It has been an awesome experience thus far. I also started indulging in quite a few sports activities. In my new apartment, there a couple of lawn tennis courts, table tennis facility and also an indoor badminton court. Had never played tennis before. Have been playing tennis with my _adda_ gang for a month now (mostly on Fridays)... and its super fun ! Boy, its an energy intensive game.. initially, had pain in my legs, hands and back.. but thankfully, that is no more the case. Sadly, I continue to be a below avg player :-( Its fun nevertheless. Table tennis is a cool game. Requires a lot of concentration. My brother has been an excellent coach, and I must say, over this weekend, have tremendously improved my tt skills. Now waiting for the pool tables and squash court to become operational.. so I could learn newer sports :-D

One observation though. No matter how hard I try, sports does not look like my thing ! Very poor learner (unlike my bro). However, no matter how I play, its fun and so I shall continue to play !!

Recently started learning python (yeah, I know am late, but better late than never). Was finding it increasingly difficult to manage without python and was realizing just how much one could make use of this wonderful language ! At the moment, playing around with writing a irc bot.. its cool!

Learning new things helps in breaking the monotony that sets in.. home to work and back home !

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

If only..

A friend of mine narrated this incident to me and found it very interesting ! Her father is looking for a suitable groom for her. He goes through the Times classifieds matrimonial section to see if he can find someone there. So he comes across an adv from this family which is looking for a bride.. the guy is an IITB and IIMA graduate. He calls up at the number given. The guy's mother comes on the line. She, I believe, came across as a strict woman, particular about horoscope match and surprisingly, the girls education. My friend is an engineering graduate and is doing pretty well in her job. She has good academic credentials as well. So, the guys mother asked her father.. "Why didn't the girl study further if she was bright ? We are looking for a girl who is a little more educated".

Wow! This was nice to hear (though sad that it did not work out for my friend). I mean, if only majority of educated families had the above attitude, parents would not hesitate in encouraging their daughters to pursue higher studies ! And there would be a greater sense of gender equality. How I wish...

Goodbye Cell dearie

So I had a break up with my cell phone. For some (hidden) reasons, I have once again decided to go the no-cell-phone way. Its been quite a few months since I have been using it. I do not think I have got addicted to it. It will really be interesting to see how things go without it !! /me hopes she does not find it difficult to carry on without it.

if you are planning on talking to me, pl reach me at my landline nos.

Driving troubles and lessons learnt

My last post was about finding a new pal.. my very new car. However, for some reason, this pal got very jittery yesterday. While driving on MG road with a few friends last night, a very bad smell came out of the engine when I pressed the clutch. We wondered what it was, but carried on. The car was jerky though. We moved a few meters and were hit by a strong rubber burning smell. The drive was so jerky, that I asked one of my friends to drive and check out what was wrong. The engine was not overheated. He started driving, but the bad smell continued to linger. It was too strong to ignore. We pulled over. Opened the bonnet, to see if there was some obvious we could spot. There was a bad smell, but nothing that my friends could pin-point. I must admit, my knowledge of such things is down there in negatives, which, I again admit, is a bad thing. Once you start driving, you cannot be ignorant about the common things. What if I had got stranded alone ? The thought itself scares me! Thats when I decided, I need to seriously do 'RTFM' on the car manual. And not stop there, learn basics of clutch, braking, engine, etc etc.. whatever important there is to know !

Found this nice link on understanding the mechanics behind clutch: I now have a decent idea of what it is, and what happens when I press and release it.

So, coming back to what happened yesterday.. we called the Hyundai Road Service. They were a little hard to deal with... kept passing the buck from one service station to another. Finally, someone said that they would be at MG road in 45 minutes. We parked the vehicle at Garuda mall and waited for them. Finally at 9:45pm, those guys came. They inspected the vehicle and said that for some reason the fan had stopped working (err?!!).. and the clutch plate was burning.. eww !! Ofcourse to me those terms did not make any sense.. but enough to get me in a panic state. What I was confused about was whether that had anything to do with the way I have been driving. I did not have an answer. Anywaz, those guys assured me that I coul go home without any problem and should get it checked at the workshop as soon as possible. Somehow, alone at about 10 or so pm in the night, I, a learner, managed to reach home safe and sound ! That was one hell of an experience. I have always been uncomfortable with driving at night.. now to ad to that was the feeling that I am not driving correctly.

Now that I understand clutch little bit, I learnt that I am indeed one thing wrong - sometimes at the signal, when I know its going to be a short one, I keep the car stationary just around the half-clutch point.. eww.. sounds bad now that I think of it! I let the clutch plates pressed unnecessary. A good lesson learnt and from now on, will either keep the clutch fully pressed or leave the gear in neutral.

Had been to the workshop today with a friend. My friend found the car to be behaving very strange.. in his terms "yeh car toh ek bhudi ki tarah behave kar rahi" :-( But, surprisingly, the technical guy drove around and found that there was nothing wrong with it. We came out and my friend drove the car again. And this time, he too felt that everything was fine ! Which was and is very surprising. I too found the drive to be rather smooth and not jerky. But there is still some weird sound while driving ! Our only guess is that in the span of about 10-15 mins of that guy driving, the microprocessor somehow tuned something (I do not know, my friend was theorizing) and somehow that caused the things to be working fine ! God, I have no idea !!!!

I just need to drive around for a few days and check if things look and feel OK. If not, would need to get it examined.

The warranty covers only defective parts and not parts that get spoilt due to misuse or abuse. So, I had promptly removed the 'L' board from the car before I took it to the service station ;-) [smart, ain't I ?]. and in this way, atleast till I decide whether to put the sign back or not, I shall drive on the road, pretending to be a learned driver ! wow !! That gives a sense of immense power ! But with power comes great responsibility.. and thats the scary part.

All I now hope for is that everything is ok with my dear new car.. and that it will not ditch me for years to come !

Friday, November 14, 2008

My new pal

Wow its been 3 months since my last blogpost. Time has really gone by really fast.. a lot more has happened in these months than in probably 2 years now (2 yrs back was the last time when life changed drastically... i moved from college to office!). And the change spans across personal and professional life ! So, I moved into a new place (had been living in my old place for about 6yrs!), a great gang at work, see great new work coming my way for the next year, quite a few of my friends announced their engagements and weddings, watched quite a few nice movies, learnt to play tennis (which I now play regularly), went out for a couple of late night dinners with my gang at work, plus a music concert..and the best one - I found a great new pal !! If you are wondering what is the big deal in that, well, some of those are the things I did for the first time ;-)

This post is going to be rather haphazard, thanks to the number of things I wanna pen down. So let me first talk about my new pal. This pal got me the freedom and independence I was yearning for. He gives me a sense of belonging, he gives me the space I need to connect with myself. He has all the time in the world to listen to me talk. The only sad part is that I do not get to spend a lot of time with him. But am hoping soon I will be able to. So before you wonder who I am talk about, its my new Santro Xing, my very first vehicle, and the first for my family (and the reason am not getting enough time to spend with him is that I stay rather close to office, so not much driving involved, and not 100% confident to just go for long drives all by myself!). Bought it in September. Its a nice car, and just the feeling of being able to sit in the drivers chair is simply amazing. Didnt know driving at that time. Started learning after I bought it. The driving school course didnt help much. Thanks to Varun, who helped me out with it ! We would do long driving sessions in my apartment and once he felt I was ready to go on the roads, I started driving around, ofcourse with him sitting next to me. And then, slowly graduated to sitting in their alone and he driving right behind me ! We did that for about a week.. and then, voila! I was all by myself... Then, we went out for a couple of long driving sessions. Had lot of fun as we used to just drop by our pals places without any prior plan, had breakfast at vidyarthi bhavan, blah blah ! My driving experiences have been simply amazing! They have been a major source of entertainment for my office gang.. esp, the tea breaks! I am pretty confident now, though parking continues to be a major pain point. I suck at it, just cant seem to get the hold of it :-(

But as it is always the case with new cars, I too manged to injure it in a minor parking related accident. One morning while removing it from my parking space, managed to scrape it against a pillar that had a metal part protruding out ! Yikes.. it was a bad dent. The color came off completely. I was ofcourse heartbroken and upset. Got a lot of gyaan from people about the do's and dont's, to the extent tht I was confused about what I should really be doing ! This was within the first month of purchase. I finally decided to let the scratch be there atleast it was time for the first service. First service is done now, and my friend is back to his own original self. Unfortunate that I could not take a pic of that ugly scratch that had spoilt its looks for the first two months !

I think the other things that have happened probably deserve separate posts like this one.. which was dedicated to my new pal!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Shocking interview

(Image from timesjob)

Many job interviews are normally conducted on the phone if the candidate resides in a different location. Initially I guess people must have had there skepticism about the reliability of the process. I sure did. But, after a few telephonic interviews, I developed faith in this means of hiring, until last week, when to my surprise, the interviewee actually cheated !!

A senior colleague and I were scheduled to take a telephonic interview of a candidate with 6 years of experience in the industry. In order not to reveal any information about the candidate, we shall assume it was a female named 'A'. There was a lot of disturbance on the phone, as A was outside the office. The communication appeared broken. As always, it started with us wanting to find out about her previous job roles, projects, etc. We were not quite pleased with the answers as her knowledge appeared flaky. Nevertheless, we continued to probe. During the entire time, we not even in our dreams suspected foul play. We blamed her repeating the questions after us, he broken answers, her confused thoughts, her switching from one line of thought to another, etc, etc. to the poor communication link.

The interview was not going on well. Then came our final question. Which, as before, she repeated. And then, we heard a voice in the background that had some key words from the question. Fortunately, I could catch that in no time. We immediately put the phone on mute and exchanged glances. We knew what was going on. There was a pause for a while. And then started saying something, which was again quite abrupt. And now suspecting something amiss, we fired some more questions and she was a little confused. She took her own time to answer. And to our surprise, she went from one direction to another, 180 degrees apart. It was quite apparent that she had no clue what she was talking about. Just to confirm, we asked her a couple of more questions. And we found that there were uniform pauses after every question was asked and there were no complete sentences in her answers.

Clearly, after this, it was evident that there was someone who was prompting her the answers. She was repeating the questions to convey the same to him. The person must be writing the answers in broken sentences on a piece of paper. And in the hurry to answer, she must be just reading it out and not being able to form complete sentences. Also, since was not using her mind, she had no clue what she was saying (which was of course quite shocking considering her immense experience).

It is true that even if she was successful and did get a job offer, whether or not she is ultimately able to manage with the work, her resume could say that she worked in the company. However, this is so incorrect! What good would it be ?? Will she ever get the job satisfaction ? Will she ever be able to enjoy work ?? What about her career growth ? Well, to each his own! Quite unfortunate however.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I hate being in uncertain circumstances. Life's hell when everything around you is uncertain...your future, personal life and even the house you are staying in! And in order to avoid this, I spent quite a lot of time last year and good part of this year to figure out exactly what it is that I want from life, so that I do not have to face with uncertainty...I had all the details figured out, of every aspect of my life ! But, alas, life never turns out the way you want it to (Ok nothing new...everyone knows it). As Randy Pausche mentioned, you will always be faced with obstacles- "WALLS". There is a saying, "If you want something very badly, the entire universe will conspire to give it to you". If this is true, and you are not getting what you think you want badly, it implies that in reality you do not want it badly! Now, the thing I do not understand is that "very badly" is quite an objective phrase. You could say that very badly here could mean that "something you will die without" ? Well, need not necessarily be true in all cases, for example, I will not die if I don't get a chance to pursue my higher studies...but I know I want to do it badly!!!

While, I have always believed in "whatever happens, happens for the good", but there are times, when you think - "why didnt that so unlucky! what happens next? I am in a mess". And thats when you start thinking about why is it happening only to you...why YOU alone ? At that very moment, you are unable to see what is good in all that is going on..and lose the steam to wait for the real good thing to happen.

I wonder if there is anything one can do to avoid having to live in uncertainty. Maybe yes, not to just have one plan ,but also plan for alternatives, have buffers, etc etc..all the management fundaes. However, am not quite sure how much of it you can really apply here. This requires a bit more thought.

And the most irritating thing about uncertainty is that if it has been brought upon you because of the way society functions or your being of a particular, due to things that are not under your control! Ofcourse there are things one can do even in those circumstances, face it and fight it..they are the real heores. I would love to fight it out...but fight whom? problem! But family and friends ? They are the lifeline. Tough to be happy after making them unhappy. And thus its a difficult decision to make. One can't be selfish. Thus you are very often told to let go...sacrifice!

Ok the above are all jumbled up thoughts in my head. And come to think of it, it all sounds like the words/thoughts of a loser! But maybe its just a passing phase..hope its the later ;-)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Happy Friendship Day!

Its great to walk with a friend

Fantastic to do silly things together!

I have been very lucky when it comes to friends. Been blessed with some really really fantastic bunch of friends...each of whom has been there for me when I most needed them. A very Happy Friendship Day to the smaller MOFFIA and ofcourse the bigger JANTA :-) You guys have been wonderful !!!

I got the above pics as a forward from a close friend. Rather cute...

Friday, August 1, 2008

My new cell

My friends find me a weird character...not only coz I dont go to movie theaters, but also because I don't use cell phones...Ok I know you are probably surprised at reading this (not if you know me). I used a cell phone for two months when at college and found it to be a nuisance. Somehow, started using it again a couple of months back. But note, I still had not given my cell number to a majority of my friends. I would always leave it in my bag, and carry it around only sometimes..ppl would call me and I would not answer! However, I still had it. Then, on a not_so_fine_day, I managed to lose it. Thankfully it was a 6 yr old piece :-)

Now I was without my cell. And that is when I realized that no matter I was not using it as much as people around me do, I had actually got used to it. In the back of my mind I knew that if I needed, I could get in touch with anybody anytime ! And now without it, I felt quite disconnected. I felt the need to have it back. And lo...I actually went out to pick up a new one for myself! (I really can't believe that I did that). I set the budget low...I got a Nokia 6805 (I guess once a Nokia, always a Nokia..ok am not really serious about that one!).

Its a nice one..though a little bulky..but a good feature set for the money I paid for it! Found the reception to be pretty good..besides that, has a basic camera, speaker phone, fm radio, mp3 player, bluetooth support, front panel display, wide screen. The keys are also nice and easy to work with. The UI is pretty decent as well. But what I didn't like is that if I have to disconnect a call, I can't do that very easily. The moment I flip the phone open, the call is answered !! I am not quite sure about it yet as I have not done much finding out...but if it is true, its rather weird.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

cheezo pointed me to this lecture by Prof Randy Pausch at CMU. This lecture was called the "The Last Lecture", as professor was suffering from an pancreatic cancer. Inspite of all the treatment given, he was told he had only 3 to 6 more months. He died on July 25, 2008.

Its an insiprational lecture, where professor presents insights into how he anaged to achieve all his childhood dreams, how one can enable others to achieve their dreams and some of the lessons he learnt in life. He comes across as a wonderful character, cheerful and full of energy. Couldn't believe when he actually did some push-ups in front of the audience!

My take backs from the lecture (there would be no point if I had not learnt anything from it ;-))

  • "Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted" true !!
  • Prof. on obstacles (ref to as brick walls) that tend to discourage you from following your dreams: "Brick Walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things". So if the drive to achieve something is too strong, the better the chances of someone breaking the wall. He goes on to add that, the obstacles are there to keep the "others" away and to just let you dont lose focus and keep pursuing !!
  • If you don't like someone, then you probably do not know him/her enough (or long enough). Everyone has a good just have to wait to see it show.
Hope I have not missed out on anything...On the whole, an amazing lecture ! A must watch...

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

On moving to KDE4

I am a Gnome suer. Have religiously stuck to it for all these years. It is not that I did not venture out into the KDE domain..I did. And the first time I had, I had found it quite uncomfortable to work with. But, with so much talk about KDE4.0 and now KDE4.1, I was kinda tempted to give it a try (I know am late in doing this !!).

So I finally installed KDE4.1 on my Ubuntu Gutsy installation. I am no good at analyzing or commenting on piece of software, however, here goes my first impression...look and feel-wise...

  • Too large Icons: The icons on the desktop are too huge by default (Or is it only my particular setting I do not know) !! The desktop looked all cluttered and not a least bit appealing...and visual appeal is the first thing you would look for.. I was rather disappointed !
  • O2: In this default theme, the icons besides being larger, also have a shadow of sorts which makes the desktop look really ugly. You right click on the file, the terminology of the menu list options is quite different. Normally, you would have options pertaining to the file, ie, file related operations. However, the list here is : Icon settings, desktop configuration, alignment, add or remove widget, etc. Not sure if it is the same in earlier KDE versions.
Not that the above are not with all other things, these also are! This was just my first impression :-) Frankly, I somehow do not feel encouraged to spend the time and configure the entire desktop.

So what did I like thus far ? Hmm...can't think of anything...maybe I am missing something ?!?!

Nevertheless, there is no denying that some of the best apps are available on KDE! Just that I use them on gnome soooo many others!

Post publish edits: I must admit that I have not read all the facts on KDE4. varun just informed me that one of the idea is to have no icons on the desktop! But since I already had lots of stuff lying on my desktop, I probably saw the undesirable result. So, I think the right thing to do here is to read the facts first and go back and do the settings...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

X-Airport Road (Bangalore)

So the curtains finally came down on the HAL Airport. For those staying on Airport Road for more than 10 years, it was a mixed reaction. Some were happy that there would be no disturbance anymore and that the Airport Road traffic would ease, while others (the frequent travelers) were disheartened as they would now need to travel more than 50 km to get to the airport which was earlier a 5 minutes drive (for someone like me!). And for some others, it was just an _emotional_ attachment (sounds weird, but true).

There were many advantages of having the airport so close to my house. Of course, the biggest advantage was that I didn't have to leave home 3 hours before a flight. Second, it was so easy to go and pick up relatives and friends coming over. And the hidden advantage...many a times, friends and relatives did not have the time to drop by (coz they were on a short trip, or whatever else the reason), I used to either just catch up with them on the road across my house when they were headed to the airport, or at the airport itself (since it was walkable for me). Alas, this can happen no more! Now, I can't even think of going to the airport to pick or drop someone (a waste of time and money both).

However, as was expected, the traffic on Airport Road has decreased significantly. Its so much easier to cross the road now. The traffic gets cleared in one green signal. Even at night times (during peak international flight time) there used to be heavy traffic..but now, its like any other road.

So, overall I think it was beneficial as till now since I didn't have to travel, I have been enjoying the improved traffic situation and less pollution. But the day I have to travel or need to drop or pick up someone, I am sure to complain :-)

I wonder if there is any plan to change the name of the road ?! It still is airport road..though whenever I refer to it with that name, people tend to correct me by saying 'its old airport road' !!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I came across this nice add-on for firefox when causally browsing through the firefox add-on library. This add-on lets you mark a page that you want to read later by click of a button. And when you want to get to it, you again just press a button in the toolbar. This add-on is extremely useful for me as I normally am in the habit of keeping stuff for reading later (which isn't a good habit at all I know). I have been using session saver to achieve this for me all this while. The result was that at one point, I would have about 20-30 tabs open..resulting in poor firefox startup performance. And I would ultimately simply close the unread tabs without second thought! Used to bookmark several pages, but in the interest of keeping the bookmarks organized, I used to spend a few minutes to figure out where the page belonged !

With taboo, this is so much simpler and faster now ! I am yet to explore more of its functionalities though. For more information, check here

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

IBM System x (tm) Technical Conference

My proposal for a talk on "Enterprise Realtime" has been selected for one of IBM's technical conferences !! This conference is in July in Bangalore itself. Looking forward to a nice lab session :)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Rendevouz with Paul McKenney

Paul McKenney needs no introduction. However, to mention briefly, he is the inventor and one of the implementors of Read-Cope-Update (RCU) synchronization mechanism, that is extensively used in the Linux kernel. Besides, he is a master inventor at IBM.

I had this wonderful opportunity to interact with him when he visited India in the second week of May. I had a total of 2 hours of 1-1 session with him...and to describe it briefly, it was simply wonderful!!

He has a wonderful personality. In spite of being where he is, he manages to come down to the level of his peers and involve everyone in the conversation. But his most striking characteristic is that he makes you THINK!! You have to be on your guard lest you be caught unawares ;-) Well, am just kidding, exaggerating.

For the technical discussions I had with him, he presented me with so many perspectives that I had not even thought off. Quite a lot to take from him! On the non-technical side, asked him about how he manages to be so productive. Quick came the response (which as expected is profound) -"Fluency and Effective Energy Management". Neat concept! Common sense, but a technique we fail to inculcate in us!

One thing I have to mention is that the discussion with him was extremely motivating...and the good thing is, to date it inspires me! I am just hoping it continues to stay with me in the years to come! Thanks Paul :-) If you reading the blog, sorry didn't take your permission to write about this...hope you have no complains ;-)

Movies..are they so important?

For folks who have known me for a long time, also know that I am not too much into movies, rather I must say that I am not all into movies :-) Not that I don't like watching movies, its more to do with me not being used to watching them! Its something that was not part of my up-bringing.

Why am I writing about this? Well, so Ozzy and Uttaran (my colleagues) were discussing movie as part of our usual afternoon \_/7 time. Both do not know me very well..and like everyone else beginning to know me, they too were quite shocked to find that I don't watch movies. They looked at me as though I was an alien and didn't belong there at all...not that their reaction surprised me (as am quite accustomed to such looks), but just made me ponder a bit. Hell broke lose when I told them that I have been to a theatre only about 3-4 times :-D. Are movies considered to be the most important source of entertainment these days? Are they such an integral part of our teenage lives ? Why am I looked at with such skepticism of even being a fun-loving person? I wouldn't want to believe it is true, but so far I have not met anyone (except one) who has made me feel otherwise ;-)

Ozzy, Uttaran, am not pointing anything at you guys! You guys are simply superb !! Just this question kept bugging me :-)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Me is still alive !!

Hola !! Its been a loooooong time since I blogged! Well, nothing new...this is how my blogging habbits have been from the beginning..*sigh* So, I found this nice add-on to Friefox, Scribe Fire (was reading Cheezo's blog the other day when I came across it). So just by pressing F8 key, I now get this nice neat editor where in I can put in the contents of the blog! No need to acutally go to the blog link, and then after lot of clicks, get to entering the blog! So hopefully, now I should be more regular ;-)

Been quite tied up for the past couple of months. In April, got to know that I have to go to Portland, Oregon for a week-long team meeting. Just preparing for the trip kept me busy throughout...first realized that my passport was expiring in May and for getting a VISA, the mimimum validity of the passport should be 6 months. And getting the passport renewed is not too easy, especially, if you are applying under Tatkal. Reason, you need some million documentary proofs, attested by gazetted officers (God alone knows where to find them unless you already know someone who is willing to certify your existance as a fine citizen of India). Gosh, that was a tensioning week, trying to get all the docs in place !! Finally, got passport within 3 days of application (which was surprising).

Now comes the VISA application process. Not that difficult, but time consuming..again preparing the right documents, obtaining invite letter in the *required* format can become a pain. So the invite letter I had from my US manager was apparently not in the right format..had to get it re-sent to me !!! I had to get a photo clicked for the VISA form. And I was appalled to find out that too was not in the *required* format...issue was, one of my ears happened to be covered by my hair !!!!! God bless, the VISA desk refused to take it..

Thankfully, the trip to Chennai for the VISA interview went smooth. I entered the US Embassy at around 8:45 in the morning (my interview was scheduled for 11 something). And to my surprise, I was out at 9:30 itself!!
I then had the whole day with me to kill..just spent sometime visiting the tourist sites around there..went to Marina beach in the afternoon..had an interesting incident there, which I shall post later.

Then after that came the actual preparation for the trip in terms of shopping ;-) Thankfully, this didn't have to an extensive one as it was going to be only a week-long stay..and I mostly had all the stuff I needed.

My US trip was cool! Just the thought of having got outside India and setting foot on a foreign land was awesome! Its an first foreign land was Frankfurt. The journey was long (duh! need I say that) and I slept most of the time :-D Times when I was awake, I could not get myself to do anything usefull..I either read some magazine or watched the movie that they were playing :-) Have uploaded some pics on picasa, will post a link here soon.

After coming back from the trip, been busy catching up with work items...pending tasks, etc. I also started writing an article on RT scheduler..its finally done! And hoping to get it published soon... haven't heard from the editor yet, but keeping my fingers crossed :-SS

So that was a quick summary of what I have been upto...hopefully would be more regular from now onwards !!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Element of the past...

Prior to April, 2008

Grew up seeing this building...seeing the boards...with the dream that one day I will work in IBM. Atlast when my dream came true, the sign was removed from the building! It was a very emotional moment for everyone at home when the IBM office at Golden Towers was vacated. It now bears a very desolate look..


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Holi Hai Bhai Holi Hai !!

I simply love this festival of colours! And many thanks to my wonderful and enthusiastic bunch of friends that this holi became special to me :-). I played after ages...last time I played "proper" holi was when I was a kid (when I used to be in Mumbai..oh I miss "Bombay" terribly on all festivals). It has always been rather dull out here in Bangalore. Not even once did we play when we were doing engineering...and even this time around, it seemed unlikely!

Just one year after engineering and the number of my friends who are single has come down quite a bit..and due to this, it has become quite tough to get people together and celebrate festivals. But I was kind of adamant that we celebrate holi...till last night it looked very very very unlikely and about 10:30 pm we got the entire plan in place and we were all set to have a blast today!

Reached Madhu's place at about 11 am. Aravind, Madhu and I spent 20 minutes shopping for colours, "pichkari", etc. We looked around for water balloons, but didnt find :-( ..but guess we didn't need them afterall...3-4 buckets were more than sufficient. Initially we were 4 of us. It was super duper fun just putting colors on each other, filling up buckets of water, mixing color in it and emptying it out completely on someone...dancing and singing the famous holi songs....pichkari fights..oh, lot of fun! It was especially fun putting colors on Dodo..she kept saying "What dirty colours...I don't like orange..I don't like purple...dirty yello...give me and pink..." No wonder people always associate pink with girls..bad Dodo :-D Nevertheless, we put on her all the colors she hated...she kept running to wash her face every 15-20 minutes...hahaha!!

Madhu was shivering like crazy all throughout..we even managed to make him sit on the ground and empty out around 2 buckets of colored water on him...good fun! and then ofcourse, he didn't leave any of us! Tired of just playing with each other, we were waiting for some other bakra..that came in the form of Neo...we waited for him....waited to pounce on him the moment he landed..and that we did...proud to say that in a very uncouth manner we smeared him with all possible colours, poured buckets of water on him and didn't give him a chance to attack us :-D But as always he was a sport!

Finally, it was time to end the celebrations...and the time to start the effort of getting the colors off..which is the toughest part of holi ;-) It took about 30-40 minutes of dedicated effort to get rid of 95% color...5% still remains on me..hoping to get rid of it in the next couple of days...

This celebration culminated with a sumptuous lunch at Pizza Hut, where Deepika joined us. And we then did what we do best..chatting !

It was finally time to say our ta-tas...quite some distance back home, close to 18 km :-) [Call me crazy if you will, travelled that far just to play holi ;-) ]

Will definitely remember this holi for a long time. Now I know one thing for sure, it does not matter how many friends you meet up with, its the quality of the time spent together that matters in the end! Its best not to expect everyone to take part..just have fun with alteast those who have managed to make it!

Holi Hai !! Heres wishing you a Very Happy Holi !! Pics with Dodo and Ara...guys, pl upload them and send the link.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Activities of LinuxChix !!

So LinuxChix is making forays into more and more colleges. The awareness is increasing quite rapidly now..thanks to the effort of sooo many volunteers ! We recently had a session @FOSSkriti @IITK, one at Gnunify 08, Lala Lajpat Rai College (Mumbai), Abida Inamdar College for Women (Pune). More to follow... Join us today and make a difference :-) For more information, herez our wiki.

In Mumbai Waiting for a Miracle

A friend of mine sent me a link to this song called 'In Mumbai Waiting for a Miracle', sung by Raghu Dixit. Its a super cool song! Check out their latest album here. You can actually listen to some of the songs online...If you like them, buy the album and don't just pirate it from a friend.

At IITK, had a nice & enlightening discussion on the wrongs of piracy, with Shreyas and other folks from IITK. It is true that we all want the music/movie we like for free. So, without any feeling of guilt we copy this stuff from a friend, buy pirated copies, etc. But we must not undermine the ordeal an artist goes through in creating a music album or a movie. As Shreyas rightly said, many small artists rely on the sales of the albums for livelihood. It costs lakhs of rupees to create a very simplistic music album...and it then hurts to find out that people are simply making umpteen number of copies of the album and rotating it around...where will the money come from?

It is true that it is quite tough to prevent piracy. But the least we can do is instill a sense of guilt among people who very actively do it. It should be looked upon as a social gaffe...only then can we expect atleast the elite and the educated to give up on it!

On this topic, if you have not checked out radioverve yet, go and do it right away !!

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Thanks to ego, a.k.a. Gautham, I got hooked onto creating ambigrams for some of my friend's name... Believe its damn addictive and a great stress buster... The beauty is the innumerable ways in which every ambigram can be created !! MARIA
This is a special way it reads BHASKAR, and when read upside-down, right to left, it is BHARATI..dedicated to my friends who are now life-partners!

Yours truely, ANKITA



Thursday, February 14, 2008

Linux Scheduler

Currently looking at the realtime Linux scheduler code...oh man! it has changed quite a bit from the last time I had seen it. For realtime tasks, the logic behind pushing and pulling of tasks looks pretty impressive..the cpu priority management by Gregory Haskins is nice, but overall, rt task load balancing is not yet is O(n). So as the number of processors increase, the latencies in scheduling a particular rt task would increase linearly...but this is a cool piece of code to work with ;-) Having fun!!

Workshop @ FOSSkriti '08

Will be conducting a workshop at Techkriti '08, a technical fest at IIT, Kanpur this weekend (16th). Workshop is a lab session on 'Introduction to the Linux kernel'...more details are here:

Also giving a talk on LinuxChix (an intro session) and would be representing LinuxChix at the fest! Loking forward to both my talks..and ofcourse, the trip! Got quite some travel :-)