Monday, June 16, 2008

Size does matter!!

For the second time, I guess, I am going to criticize something for being small. I remember saying that iPod Shuffle is too small for comfort. Very easy to lose, it can drom off you pocket while you are taking out your handkerchief and you wouldnt even know. Anyways, but you can live with that owing to the advantages to such a small MP3 player. But here I am going to talk about something different.

I drive to Gurgaon everyday for work. I leave at about 10 mins to 9 and reach my office at about 10-10:15. That is about 20 kms of travel is more than an hour. Now one would say... good enough. That is a nice average speed (20kms/hr) is a city like Delhi. But unfortunately, this speed is far from acceptable. Why? Because the most of the distance of this 20 kms are travelled on an expressway. Yes, the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway. It has opened about 6 months ago, about 4 lanes each side. Boasts of the largest toll booth in India. And, in reality, during peak office hours, you have to travel bumper to bumper, most of it, if not all. I still remember, when they were making this expressway, they projected a maximum stoppage time of about 20-30 seconds, and in reality, during peak hours, you need to stop for about 10-15 minutes. Now thats where foreseeing the future comes in. India SUCKs at that. First, they are unable to judge how much time they themselves need to complete a project, and by the time they complete it, its too late for all the initial predictions. I still remember, I guess last year there was a proposal to build a new Airport at Noida which would serve as a satellite Airport for Delhi. The inital project proposal that was presented would be completed by 2014 and the predictions are that it would run out of capacity by 2019.

"Short-sightedness" is what our country suffers from, and this bring me to the Tatas. Nano is truely a wonderful and a very ambitious project by the Tatas... But what happens when it actually comes to road by end of next year. Every day about 1000 cars are added to the roads of Delhi, and Delhi cant take any more. At the same time it would also increase the fuel demands. If a car is sold as opposed to a bike, the fuel consumption is atleast doubled. The latest fuel price hike and the associated agitations certainly highlight how important even this issue is. So have the Tatas thought about the catastrophe that this project might lead to??

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Since the end of 3rd year...

Well I have had two weeks of my holidays now. And there had been nothing new. Just the same old fact that I have gained a lot of weight and I am continuing to do so. Now unlike the previous holidays I have been quite busy this time. The main reason for that is my internship. Unlike last year, when I used to work at a Sarkari Company, this time I am doing my internship at Oracle, Gurgaon. Everything is good about this training, except for the fact that I have never had a "disciplined timetable" before. I have to go to the office Monday-Friday and do my stuff from the morning till the evening. Now that calls for a very fixed timetable. So every morning I have to wake up around 7...aaarhh!! And obviously, it also means that you cant stay awake late at night. The other bad thing is the drive from Dwarka till Gurgaon. I obviously travel during the peak office hours. Which means millions of cars on road. And which also means that your left hand and your left foot gets sore by the time you complete your journey. Its a 1-2.. 1-2 affair (gears, I am talking about) at many stretches. Recently the NH-8 from Delhi to Gurgoan has been revamped into an Expressway. So that is the only stretch where you can drive "normally". But again, as soon as you cross the Toll Booth, its back to square one. Like it takes about 30 mins to travel about the 3 remaining kilometers. And I blame DLF for that. They have just opened up offices, without ever considering the "other demands". Like for example, there is no good place to park your car, unless you are one of the employees of companies. There are some people who have opened up private parking lots (which by the way is simply a piece of muddy land) and they charge about 60 bucks for a day. On top of that, DLF is still constructing at many places, which adds to the problems of the commuters. So, at the end of the day, you will hate to travel in this stretch, even on foot. Now, this entire complex DLF Cyber City and DLF Cyber Greens host many of the top companies of the world. To name a few Oracle, Google, Microsoft, Sapient, Accenture, PriceWaterhouse Coopers, Nokia etc etc. So you have a huge number of well-paid employees going there, and so the traffic situation worsens.

Anyways, its better to stay within the building than to stay in the chaos. Offices are extremely beautiful and chilled out. Every care is taken that the employees are comfortable at work. Unfortunately, there is something wrong about the place where I am working. Like who wants to stay inside the office, when on the same floor (right outside your office entrance) you have outlets of Barista, Dominos, Subway, a Chinese Restaurant and a Bar. Its really ironic that I am usually inside the office due to lack of dough. But I don't know what keeps others inside.

There is something more that is killing me. The News Channels in India, have totally lost it. I am not a TV addict. I don't watch television regularly and so most of the time I flip around the News Channels, or the sports channels. But this time the News Channels are giving me a shocking experience. They have nothing to show except 3 things... Like when you turn on a News Channel (absolutely any news channel) the chances are 95% that you will find them showing one of the following things:
1. Aarushi Murder Case
2. IPL
3. Showing glimpses of the 100s of different comedy show/reality shows running on the other channels
I swear to god, they don't have any news to show. A few weeks ago I was trying to recall how the TV has changed during my lifetime. Like earlier we only had Doordarshan. All night and during we would have those colorful vertical strips and a continuous sound. And then at about 2 (I guess) it will start with a countdown and the News Bulletin. There were separate News shows for the deaf audience as well. Then some time later came the News Show AAJ TAK anchored by, I guess, Deepak Chaurasia. Now that guy really made News important to your life. There used to be so many important news items that this short TV show would cover. It ended with a "Yeh thi khabrein Aajtak, Intezaar kijiye kal tak", and people would really wait kaltak for the next day's news. Now slowly, TV has become 24 hours. We have 24 hours news channels, and all of them doing an equally bad job, sadly it even includes Aaj Tak channel. Now the TV channels have decided to shift its focus from news and move towards entertainment. Hiring comedians, getting into collaboration with existing entertainment channels and showing their footage. You really got to question, Where is the News?? Isn't it stupid to cover a single murder case 24-hours in a day, and making it so hyped that it turns into a political game for the Political Parties. And I am sure that hundreds of murders are taking place everyday. And many of the murder cases are equally brutal and lacks evidences, why go after one like you have nothing else to do?? And then you have "utterly idiot news correspondents" questioning the members of the victims family and the investigating officers "Janta Jawab Maang Rahi Hai??" WTF?? I guess the number of people who are really affected by the verdict is going to constitute of a few people, maybe atmost 100 (including door ke rishtedaar). And finally, I found the news channels go to the extent of inviting sms wishes for the victim. Holy Shit, you are trying to turn it into a profit making business now. I really imaging how things will change in the years to come. No wonder we have so many comedians making fun of the news channels now... here are some of the recent ones that I had seen:





Anyways there isn't much more to say, just hope that things improve...

Finally, before I end, I'll like to give a good review of the latest hard disk I bought. A Seagate FreeAgent Go 250 GB



I must say, the design is quite sleek, and the hard disk is speedy. Recommended if you wish to go for a portable external. CNET has given it a 7.6 rating.

Ciao.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"Reservation"

I returned to Chandigarh yesterday and for the first time is a long time I took a Bus ride from the station to my university. There are few things really distinct about the Chadigarh Transport Unit (CTU) bus service. Recently, about a year or so back they had made a change in their system and they charge Rs 5 for one ride on one bus. Thus, it doesnt matter if you have to travel one stop or maybe several kilometers, you pay the same. Also they have introduced a "Grid System" whereby if you have to travel from one point to another in the CTU bus network, you have to make a maximum of one change of route. So the minimum you spend is Rs 5 and the maximum Rs 10 for travelling from any one point to another. Now these things combined gives you a very odd experience. The bus I boarded to reach my university actually went outside the city first, halted there for some time and they came back into the city taking a very peculiar and a long path to reach my university.

Anyways I spotted something really funny:

(Click on the photo to enlarge and read the seat reservation categories)

All this while I used to travel in Delhi, I used to find such a hue and cry about one side of the seats reserved for ladies. CTU has gone one step further. Considering the other half of the bus also has quite a few seats marked for handicapped and ladies the question is where does the general public sit?? Is there any way to prove if a guy is a freedom fighter or not?? I really do not see any reason of encouraging such system considering that in other countries there isn't any such reservation. I hope such system will soon be history.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

RDB Fort

So we finally decided to go for an outing. Many of us had been thinking of going to RDB fort for a long time now. For those of you who are not aware of RDB fort. It is a small old structure, maybe a fort, built near Doraha, Punjab behind Gurudwara Manji Sahib. Quite a few scenes of the movie Rang De Basanti was shot at this location. This place is about 100 odd kilometers from our hostel. On 12th of April all of a sudden we decided to go to this place. I proposed that we leave at night so as to watch the sunrise in the morning at the fort and this plan was unanimously accepted. This is how spontaneously we make all our plans. I guess you remember how we all went out at night last time- My back is all right now :). On Sunday few of my friends had MBA coaching classes, and therefore we could not leave that night. But we made it on Sunday night (in spite of the fact that we all had final practical examinations on Tuesday). 11 of us left at 2 AM on Monday, ie 21st April in one car and three bikes. The drive was really fun. Open roads, hardly any vehicles and the weather was chilly. I could see the pillion riders curl themselves up due to cold. It took us about 2.5 hours to reach Gurudwara Manji Sahib where we had our breakfast till about 5:15 am. The fort was just behind this Gurudwara. We went there just as we saw the skyline brighting up. This structure seemed to be quite old and is surrounded by wheat farms. Even inside the fort farming takes place. Since this place is not maintained at all, the walls and the steps are all broken. Being a fat man I had a hard time climbing the broken steps, but it was fun nonetheless. Soon after the sun rose and the view was awesome. Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me at that point of time, I really wanted to shoot a few images before the sun turned fully bright. It was indeed bad luck. The scenery around the fort was really pleasant and surrounding was really calm and serene in the wee hours of morning. We had some fun for about 2 hours and clicked a loads of photos before we turned back. We returned back to hostel well in time to have breakfast. It was of course followed by a long days sleep. It was only late in the evening that we started preparing for our practical examination which was to take place the following day.







I have uploaded all the pictures taken by my camera at this link.

Friday, April 04, 2008

NTU vs PU (not really...)

In 2004 I took a picture of a bike standing outside one of the hostels in NTU, Singapore.


And a few days ago I took this picture outside my hostel.


This bike has been standing outside my hostel ever since I got admitted. In a place where Bullets and Open Jeeps are a passion and they rule the roads, it is odd that someone has decided to detach himself with this.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Midnight Adventure

I didn't blog for a long time... Maybe I was waiting for this Day.

On 27th March all the hostels in Panjab University celebrated Hostel Annual Day. A Hostel Annual Day celebration has three highlights. Fun filled annual day function, buffet dinner and a DJ. On the down side, the cultural show mainly consists of Punjabi songs and Boliyas. Most of it I don't understand, and therefore, I don't appreciate. And to continue the down side, the buffet is way different than what you can imagine. And finally the DJ brings along with him a collection of "yuk" Punjabi Songs and 3rd class speakers. But interestingly in spite of all the down sides we look forward to it, and amazingly we end up enjoying a lot.

So here is how the show proceeds... The stage is set up. All the audience (mainly the hostel residents) reach by 7 in the evening. The cultural show begins. There are people who sing, people who dance and even some fun games are played during the entire show. This time there was a competition on paper dance. I hope you realize that we are in a "Boys Hostel". A normal person might find an all boys paper dance to be an "homosexual" act, but after spending 3 years in hostel we found it pretty "normal"... lol!! It only requires a hint, a small clue that one or two person is moving towards the dining hall for dinner and everyone the rushes for food. Now here is the buffet part. When you reach the hall you will find that the food is not served yet. But you don't wait. The plates and salad is there. So you rush and make sure you have a spoon and a plate in your hand. Cause if you cant manage a plate then, you might end up not geting your hands on one till the end of the dinner. Then you push yourself through the mob to reach the table where food will arrive. You need to somehow manage to hold on to your position in that hustle. As soon as food comes, its show time!! You cant wait for the serving spoons to come. Use your own spoon to stuff your plate with the food. At the same time you need to be extra careful that no one drops some food on you, although that is inevitable. The final task is to balance your plate and come out of the mob... victorious. All this while there might be a corner where you can easily go and get your food, but there is no fun in that!! At the end of it there is ice cream. The biggest problem is that by the time you reach the counter that serves ice cream, there are no plates left. Any how, you do manage that. So after the meal its time for some dance. The DJ is playing in full & "PHATI" volume. But the rules in Chandigarh says that No Loud Music after 10 so at 10 the police shuts down the DJ. Till this point you enjoy the official Hostel Annual Day.


Hostelers enjoying the Paper Dance


Gala Buffet!! :P


Enjoying the DJ


This time we were not satisfied with the Celebrations. We wanted some more music and some more fun. So we decided to go to Cambwala Pul. Now cambwala is the place remotely located and the north-most part of Chandigarh in the green area next to Sukhna Lake. Thats were you need to go to drink during off hours. Although the "Daroo ke Theke" are officially closed, the business still goes on. After purchasing your dose of booze, you enjoy it at a small over-bridge further away from the city almost where Punjab starts. That area is totally dark with farms all around that narrow road and the bridge. Now I dont know why people enjoy drinking there, maybe because I dont drink. But I know that people like to piss off that bridge and no one disturbs them there. Now we reached there at about 11-11:30 pm to continue our celebrations. There were 12 of us. 2 cars and one bike. I was the pillion rider. One of us bought a very light dose of drink consisting of 3-4 cans of beer and a breezer. Many of us, including myself, dont drink. We were just there to enjoy ourselves. I also carried my iPod to play our favorite music. The celebrations continued with loud music and few cans of beer and we all danced like mad men. After about 5-6 songs ie about half an hour we saw few torches in the farm and a few men walking towards us, shouting abuses. Our sixth sense told us that they were policemen and we decided to RUN!!! They were about 200 metres away, moving swiftly in the dark. Everyone ran towards the cars but I realized that Dhananjay(aka Dhanno - the bike owner) would be left alone. So I decided to be with him. I quickly went upto Dhanno and asked him to take out the keys. He fiddled in his pocket, got the keys and sat on the bike. Now the bike was standing on the main stand and he managed to get it off the stand in his third attempt. I jumped onto the bike and he started the bike (self-start). He was just about to accelerate when one of the policeman had managed to come close and give a blow of his lathi("sottah") on my back. As Dhanno accelerated and switched the gears he skipped the second gear to third gear by mistake. Obviously it got difficult to accelerate. One of them was running just behind me on my left ready to pounce onto me. I was pleading Dhanno to get the gear down to second and he did that just in the nick of time. And we managed to sprint away from them. We didn't look back for the next 10-15 secs as we paced at a very high speed. Unfortunately our bike and the two cars were parked along opposite direction. Thus we ended up running in two opposite direction and got separated in the process. We were further away from Chandigarh and they came back into the city. We stopped at an isolated area to cool down and think for a while. It was really tough to control the adrenaline rush. Although I knew another way to get into the city, but our helmets were left in the car and most likely we would be caught without helmet once we enter the city. Furthermore most of the times our mobile was out of coverage. We waited for sometime and then decided to go back the same way and meet our friends but I was a bit skeptical that the policemen were still there on that bridge. We noticed a car going that way and we followed it at a distance. As soon as the car reached the brige 4-5 torches illuminated on the bridge and we realized that they were waiting for us. We quickly turned back. We could hear them shout as they saw our light turn around. Again we raced away and this time went further and inside a village. We parked near a few buffalos and in the process, woke up a few residents. I quickly alighted and went in search of mobile coverage. Finally I managed to get my phone working and we decided to meet near Chandigarh IT Park where they can hand over the helmets before we enter the city again. Meanwhile Dhanno was talking to the chowkidar of the village. Then we started for the other way back. I had a little trouble in recognizing the way in the dark, but I did manage to take us to the IT Park where the two cars were already waiting for us. Ah.. rescue at last. My friends checked out my injury and gasped when they looked at it. Finally, before we returned to hostel, we spent sometime at PGI 24 hour canteen.


Dancing, unaware of the future



Uff!!


I had two things before I went to bed that night. An injury that would last a week, and an experience that would last a lifetime!! :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Minus!!

I have got my first sessional examinations from 4th Feb. Already I am busy with lots of other things. On top of that the weather is freezing me. Have a look at this:





Yes. This is what you'll find in my Hostel every morning.

And to day I was shocked to see the forecast...

Who the F**k said that Global Warming is bad??

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Busy Schedule, no time to spare

One thing one should not do is lead more than one club/committee in college. That is what I have learned in the past month. I have been a member of Technical Committee for more than two years now, and now I am also the Convenor of the Committee. At the sametime, I am also the Sun Campus Ambassador and am heading the Sun Club and the User Group in my college. These two responsibilities is really demanding a lot from me. Everyday I reach college at about 9 amd return at about 7-8 in the evening. And after about 2 years of being in this college, now I am thinking of buying a bicycle of myself. On top of that, the sarkari administration in my college/university has really made my jobs even tougher. You apply for a permission, firstly you go to the faculty in-charge. Most of the time he would not be there in his room. So you have to time yourself according to him. Once you get his signature, you have to get it countersigned by the Director. Most of the time, our Director is busy in a meeting, so his PA would just shoo you away. Then after much efforts, you manage to get is signature, and then you have to run around to catch hold of Lab Assistants or Staff members who are responsible for the different things like labs/projectors/sound system. Issue the stuff from them and also, in case you are printing question papers, you have to issue a slip from the college office and give it to the photostat shop. And this is just an overview of the no of efforts that convenor/the leader has to make, the actual experience is even worse. God.... Help Me... I take back all the critisism that I had made for the previous convenors of the Technical Committee... Things are really bad here. 

And haan... We are about the receive a SunSPOT kit from Sun Microsystems. Can't wait to get my hands on that.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Video: Shimla Kufri Trip

I made a short video of the trip that I went for with my college mates.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Leopard got some ticks

Hey I am getting a little bugged with leopard. Its all coming out of very high expectation... standards that Mac has set for itself. Of course there are some common ones that you can live with, like when you drag any file from finder and then do to the screen corner to show desktop and move your mouse on the desktop, the icon that ur mouse was dragging along simply disappears, although you are actually still dragging the object.

Now yesterday I was deleting a folder from my external hard disk. It would go into the Trash, but the thrash would not empty because there are some locked files in the subfolders. It told me it hold onto the option key while emptying the thrash, but even then it would not empty the thrash. It will copy the folder to the local hard disk, and then from here you can delete and hold on to the option key while issuing the empty thrash command, it works. But if would not move the folder to the local hard disk, saying that you do not have privileges. I have never heard of a privilege problem in a FAT formatted disk. Anyways I open up the terminal to try rm -rf, but it wont work. Karan suggested me to do sudo rm -rf, it still gives some privileges error. Futhermore I eject and reconnect the hard-disk and also do a reboot. But the folder just remains there. Finally the last solution, start Windows in VM and delete the folder, and boom, its gone.

The again some time later, I realized that my computer started to freeze instantaneously. Everything started to slow down. The fans became too loud. On checking the iStat Pro I found this:

Two processes: mount_hfs and syslogd were really sucking the juice out of my processor whose temperature had risen to 82˚C. I dont know why, what initiated it, when did it start. It just started happening and I was a little late in realizing the problem. The processes could not be killed from the Activity Monitor as they were root processes, so I tried to restart the computer. The computer froze permanently half way to shut down. So I had to like warm boot it, kept the power button pressed.

No doubt Leopard has been a bit buggy, it has just been about two months since its release, and I hope to see 10.5.2 soon.
Finally to end on a good note, I tried out DTrace on Leopard. Its a great feature. Currently Leopard has a lot fewer probes than Solaris which I am sure will increase.