Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Dolby Experiment -- What would be your idea for fun?

It was one those  regular  week offs,that I would exchange new ideas with some folks in a group in Facebook. While I was skimming through some older posts,one of them caught my attention.And although I was not an audiophile by nature,I wondered if I could try out a new suggestion which was  posted by one of the member in the group. The discussion was about enhancing  the audio output of  our notebooks,particularly on Lenovo ThinkPads. While my knowledge about ThinkPads is still in the nascent stages,the post was definitively intriguing in nature as  lengthy discussions about its success rates were being   posted  at Lenovo's community portal - where I also  often participate as a moderator.

I would seldom use a ThinkPad at home and would generally use it only while I travel.Since the technique in question was working for Conexant based audio devices,I would not wait but immediately download  the application in discussion. It's called  Dolby tuning and profile creator.This application package also comes with the latest incarnation of Dolby's audio technology namely Version 4.0. The test bed for this small experiment would be a Lenovo Ideapad Y560 which I have with me. This is a  notebook which I use occasionally for high-end gaming and for watching my  movie collection .Because it already has an excellent set of JBL speakers which are also Dolby certified,using this profiling app would in effect increase its acoustic output -- at least that was what my first assumption.

To make sure that the Dolby Drivers were installed and were compatible by the system , I checked the sound driver status in the device manager section and indeed - the device seemed to be compatible with my built-in audio system.It was now time to put the Profiling app to test. While I could have tested the app with any audio song in my collection,I really wanted to make sure that all the  audio tweaking options would work out as expected,which required me to search for a song which had a mix of  both high and mid range frequencies.

The profile app has an excellent mix of tweaks,which can be used in a variety of combinations to change the output frequencies,depending upon the user's taste. Another useful or I daresay a beautiful feature is the mini version of the app which is can be accessed via the quick launch area.If you are watching a film in a full screen mode and would just want to toggle between important settings,this would be the best option for you to tinker with.

I managed to find a song which I thought would be the best to run along with the app,not sure if this is the best fit.But it was a satisfying and a fun experience as a whole.Thanks to Peter from Lenovo forums for the pointer!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November - A month to remember

Its been a while since I've been here,partly because I decided to prioritize more time into reading books than sparing the same before the PC.I intend to increase my time on book reading till the year-end,and see if I can control my urge of getting glued to the PC at all  the time  .

While life seems to be running in the same tempo as it was for the past one year,Things are a bit different now since I joined the Geo Content Operations team in Hyderabad. My  3 days off every week  have been  a good excuse to return back home and spend some quality time with my parents,relish my Mother's delicious home-made food and take some time to plan for my future  endeavors.It has been rather awkward at times when I feel I am the only person to be around in my home town with none of  my friends or Siblings around to chat with. And times like these make me to come back to use the PC for longer hours,perhaps this activity gives me some solace in some way when I can forget about my Sister and brother - both of them who are now living in the States.

The week off's from Tuesday to Thursday would also mean I would find lots of time to spend with my mother especially in the kitchen.Cooking has been a favorite pass time of mine - apart from photography.And the free time I get every week is a boon in disguise! I started to learn about the Indian Cuisine  during my 10th grade.My grandmother at that time would encourage me to cook and therefore the ball started to roll ever since.

It has been fun to understand and practice the "know how" behind a cuisine or a particular dish. Last week when I got back home,things were in preparation for the next day's breakfast. It happened to be one of my favorites so I took this opportunity to work along and with my mother. This simple dish is  available anywhere in southern India.

By the end of October ,I was planning to make the most out of Diwali since none of my siblings would be around to celebrate with me.I called up my younger cousins for the occasion and indeed -  the atmosphere was much more frolic and lively with them being around with me,and burning firecrackers in the evening.

Putting up the Diyas around and atop the house

Home sweet home glowing in the light of the oil lamps

It was also the time when I had tinkering with the Idea of celebrating my Mother's Birthday. A reclusive person in nature, she would not allow me to plan for such an activity so this would be a complete surprise to her. Her Birthday also coincided with the last day of Diwali season so it would be a special kind of day for me. I went to a a traditional clothing store for the first time to buy  the first Sari  for my mother.

The birthday evening was just a closed family event with only 3 of our extended families at the occasion.It has been a memorable month since then,and I hope I can make use of the free time I get every week to the fullest and thus have timeless footprints imbibed in my memory for years to come.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Windows 8 Preview on the Y560

I finally managed to download the Windows Developer preview from MSDN. After waiting for 13hours for the download to complete, and two failed attempts due to power cuts. Before looking out for the new bits and pieces which the alpha version was providing I had read all about it at Zdnet Blogs and Neowin  during the BUILD conference. I wanted to see how the Metro UI based apps would look like on a full screen system as the Ideapad Y560.Some of them just look beautiful.With the powerful GPU under its belt ,I wanted to see how smooth the UI would perform on the system

[caption id="attachment_1161" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Weather App running on the Metro Shell"][/caption]

While the installation itself took about the same time as of the Windows 7 client, the Metro UI seems to be everywhere from the boot screen to the  Setup process itself. I will be sharing only about the things I liked so far in this iteration and not the general features as explained by others

[caption id="attachment_1149" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Tweet@Rama - Twitter client for the Desktop"][/caption]

The Social apps on the Metro GUI are very eye candy and absolute delight I must say.   While we don't know how many of these apps will stay till the RTM release, the concept in essence looks very promising. Among other things on Metro the one which I like was the IE10. You have to experience both the normal way and the Metro look  to see what the difference is all about in the full screen IE10 Metro Avatar. Perhaps I can check it out again on a tablet PC very soon.

[caption id="attachment_1155" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="IE10 in Metro running Hotmail"][/caption]

While most of the emphasis seems to be the new shell,I wanted to check how the system would perform on two other aspects one is the boot time and the other one is hardware acceleration in IE

The boot process does not have any windows logo splash as with the previous OS . Microsoft says the boot process is quite fast and may not need a boot logo.I tried it on the system,it did not have a UEFI based Bios but the speed at which at system booted was quite noticeable

The second aspect is hardware acceleration in the IE browser. While IE9 already has this feature I did not think of testing it till now.The results are different for both IE9 and IE10. While IE9 gave a test score of 7 seconds on Win7, IE10 gave a score or 17 seconds on this notebook. The scores may vary if the build changes from Alpha quality to RC or RTM in the future.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Spy kids 4D and Aroma scope

It was a  pressurized sort of Sunday  for  me in this week. After banging my head for 2 hours in an exam hall, I came outside waiting for the bus to take me back to my place. The headache was unbearable for me and there was no way I could spend the rest of the evening  in the confines of my place.I  just wanted a pretext to escape of being alone with the pressure in my mind. The only way to detoxify my mental state was to go out for a film. I immediately  called up my brother Aditya and headed for Prasad's IMAX.

Being  Sunday there were not much choice left for us since it was an impromptu decision of mine. The only available show at that time turned out to be Spy Kids. I was told that this iteration of the film had come with an extra  feature called  Aroma scope, something which I never came across before.

I did not understand the true nature of a "4D" film until I came and settled down inside the theater. While at the entrance of the cinema, we were given a certain card with numbers ranging from 1 to 8. We were advised to rub the numbered card when ever a new number would appear on the screen. It was then that I understood what this 4D hype was all about. The film makers claim that when a certain number is rubbed in accordance to a particular scene,the users can actually smell  and feel it in a lively fashion. This according to them was the "4th dimension" .

The so called Aromatic experience

Watching the movie in 3D was a good experience for me,since I've grown up with watching  spy kids since early 2001. But the only thing which did not convince me was the  much touted aroma scope. Although it seems a bit new in nature,it looks like to film makers got carried away while promoting it as well. Would they ever say why there was scene where the baby poos and it was suggested we run and sniff across the number during the very same time? It seems the makers wanted to make some humorous instances by trying to involve the Audience with the Aroma Scope as a medium.  I could  feel a light breeze of candy smell coming out the AC unit, must have been done to increase the overall effect!. While the movie was good,the 4D thing really pissed me off,all I can think of is of the  famous saying, All fart and no Sh** . Pun intended.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Blogging from android

Three years ago,I figured out the underlining charishma which a blog would have.Ive tried to learn a lot from then on and have in the process gained more and more knowledge of the blogger ecosystem. Time and again,ive incorporated many elements into the site which would reflect my abilties and interests.

[caption id="attachment_1123" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Dashboard on mobile"][/caption]

While most of them were well known feature sets,i have now decided to take my rambling to the next level.This would be again a learning process but definatly a worthy one in the long term to try and implement.Android is a part of my adapted technologies and I wish to leverage on it to the fullest. This has not been a impromptu decision.I installed the wordpress app on my mobile more than 2 weeks ago.It was curiosity which made me to do this.

As I write this post on my mobile,memories come flooding back when I started to blog because of a good soul who encouraged me ,and made me to realise my potential in the blogosphere.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A memorable July 4th

Another July 4th has come and gone,and to this day,I have revolved 25 times around the sun. I don't remember celebrating my Birthdays with fan fare except during my earlier child hood days. There was never the usual cake cutting thing either. It used to be just a low affair and mostly as another normal day of my life. Last year after joining the Geo Content Ops team in Hyderabad,we all made it a point to have a bit of fun for over selves.

Giving a surprise Birthday bash to the patron of the day became customary. So Monday was my turn.There was a delicious Dark Forest Chocolate cake being ordered by my friends while I was still at the office. I figured out that it was their intention to fill my face with the cake rather than distributing it among  my friends.

While it was a frolic experience for me when ever I used to watch others being in my shoes till recently,being there to take the full cake in the face is not a bad experience after all. Seldom I used to think of it in the other way around.While this affair was taking place in the last half hour on Monday in the cafeteria, some one was planning another round of Birthday Bumps for me.

I was to leave for my home in the evening itself  due to the impending and un predictable Monsoon bursts but cancelled my travel  in the last moment. Instead I went to visit my best mate Hemanth. While Hemanth no longer works for Google,his constant support and encouragement during his tenure made him one of my most trusted friends. The Birthday bumps he  planned for me was not known because we were planning to go for a late night movie with another friend of his. While he ensured that I got the required number of bashes in back,I still had another cake here to be taken on my face.

It was one of the best Birthdays I ever had and I wish I can have something similar to this every year. Thanks to every friend of mine from GT Hyderabad for making an ordinary day to extra ordinary and Hearty thanks to Hemanth for taking out his time to celebrate my birthday.It also feels kind of  nice to share my Birthday with the United States,something which I think would have been cool had I been there!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Migrating to Android from Nokia

Ive been a very lateral entrant to the Android platoform.Those big flashy touch screen phones would not fit my bill and I was completely oblivious of their presence as well.Most of the time,I  keep in touch with my friends through Short Text Messages rather than calling them up.While both of those have come to equal footing in terms of monetary terms,  I thought it was time for me to adapt at least the platform which provides so much flexibility. Full touch screen phones never fancied me, be it loaded with any OS.

Last week I was to take train back to Hyderabad,when my cousin who tagged along with me took me to the nearest MobileStore . He insisted that it was time I had an Android since I was always online in one form or another. As expected the sales man in the showroom took me through all the good phones,from Samsung to the Iphone. While they seemed to be flashy and highly configurable in nature I wondered whether it was too much for my need.

Then I got the attention of the Sony Xperia Mini,the smaller version of Sony's Android products with a sliding keypad included. The phone had more features than I could imagine,excellent Sound clarity, the famous XB headphones with extra bass and a 5 mega pixel camera. All seemed well and I did not use it till yesterday as I had to rush back to Hyderabad

The pain started when I had to shift my older Nokia's Contents (The short text messages) to be precise. While a Nokia to Nokia transfer is no big deal,copying the messages to the Android was.It took 5 hours for me to understand on how I could transfer the Sms's.

There were around 2060 messages for me to backup. I don't think any one would ever think of doing such a thing,but for me those messages were precious in some nature and souvenirs as well.It was well into 3 AM in the morning when I finally managed to copy them as they were.

Google helped me out in this regard,I found a nifty tool called nokia2andorid sms which made the cross platform migration a breeze. Its an awesome tool and is highly recommended

There are lots of things to learn from the new platform,in the course of time I intend to do just that


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pass time turns into Passion

It's  been ages since my teen days during school when I was not allowed to operate a camera in our home(A japanese made Yaschica).My mother was apprehensive about it being sabotaged in my hands.Her perception being that I was too immature to handle such a gadget at that age.

Far from my mother's perception,I would at times sneak out the camera and click away anything that I found interesting like mad.Using the camera roll was an enticing experience, especially when I Was given a chance at last to operate it. All this was a result of curiosity which I had towards photography.

[caption id="attachment_1070" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Abstract photo taken during my train journeys"][/caption]

It all started with the frequent train journeys every week,when I used to shuttle between my home and Hyderabad during the 3 days weekoff.At times there would be no place to sit and I would just stand near the door while the train rattled along the country side.It was especially during my return journeys and the monsoon season that I started clicking away after a long time

[caption id="attachment_1083" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Rajadhani express gleams during the early morning sunrise"][/caption]

While most of them happened to be taken on road or the train,some of them happened to be taken near to my workplace. It was one of those days at Motorola last week when I was waiting for my cab outside the building.We were there to take some snaps with a colleague who had just resigned from the company.I was skygazing and a vision flashed across my mind.This vision for me was like the heavens coming down on to the building it self!I did not wait but immediately clicked my vision into reality which resulted in this

I get to see a lot of the country side during my travels,something which I am sure many people get to experience.Sometimes it is the early morning sunrise,and sometimes it was the looming monsoon clouds hovering  over the country side while the sun tries to jostle itself amongst the darkclouds. It is very interesting to capture such a phenomenon and at times not so easy when you try to capture it from a running train while standing at the door

[caption id="attachment_1088" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Sun and the Monsoon clouds jostling in the heavens"][/caption]

Elsewhere in the  United States, my brother who resides in Illinois  sent me a rare phenomenon.For me it was quite rare to see.This might be a common sight in the States but  defiantly not here. Planes were flying over one another at  various altitudes. The after burn combined with the sunset during which the photo was taken gives us an impression as if they were some kind of shooting stars traversing through the sky. This photo was taken while it was still twilight.

[caption id="attachment_1090" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo Courtesy - Parthasaradhi Samavedam"]

Most of the photos which I clicked were taken from my Nokia 5130 C-2 Express Music phone.I was not inclined towards buying High end cameras,for it were just some moments which I wanted to store with me. I've seen Sony  releasing its  Cyber shot Camera with a 270 Degree "Super wide" shot option. I use my sister's cyber shot which does not have that feature but If the prices of Sony's camera's are to come down significantly,I am even tinkering with the idea of  getting my own in the near future.Thus in a manner of speaking,photography has become more of a passion for me rather than just a past time.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Revving up the Ideapad and how

Its been a while since I've had the opportunity to use a Ideapad from Lenovo.I never used it to the fullest of  it's potential,untill now that is.I got inclined towards playing high-end games somehow and since than have been trying to push this baby to the limits literally. The GPU it has got entices me to do so. While I am no gaming freak,some of my friends who are very good at gaming asked me to take the notebook for a spin.Their frequent suggestions about the same  ended me in buying  some. Some of them which  I find truly intriguing  when I play. These might not be "new" to many people who are avid gamers,for me it has been rather a new experience ever since I used to play with the rented Nintendo games during summer holidays,which my father used to get for a 1$ a day, 13 years ago.

Untill now Ive been trying to tinker with 3 games which my friend Hemanth recommended. All of them seemed to be resource intensive and highly octane in Nature.

The first one is called "Blur" from Activision technologies. And true to its naming ,it really means on how it's called. While I've never been good at strategy based Shooting games like  counter strike and the lot, Racing has been my might from the beginning. While the size of the installation code seems to have increased over the years from a single cd to 7GB ,the length of the game play seems to have increased too.  More places,more cars( Licensed cars from various manufacturers).

This game reminds me of the Hollywood movie Death Race . While there seems to be no blood and gore like in the film, the whole concept in essence looks alike.

As in the film where, the protagonist takes on a "one on one " with the last remaining racer, this game also has something  similar to the film. In order to play the one to one level,we have to satisfy some of  his choices and demands.Only then are we allowed to take him  neck to  neck :) . Its fun to have a single player in the fray where the opponent tries to play hide and seek with you and vice versa while you try to shield and protect yourself from him and try to blast his car into smithereens!

The second one worth mentioning is "Dirt 3" from Codemasters. This one is in a totally different league. A typical rallying game,they too seem to have brought licensed versions of cars and teams into it. While it is not so fast  paced as Blur, it incorporates a charisma of  what a  rallying championship is all about. Indeed,after playing the game for a couple of hours, It was a nostalgic experience pl with the Subaru car. I still remember the famous "333" number associated with the team when I used to watch the cross-country championships during my school days.

Car controls are drifty in the game,perhaps this has been intentional from the designers.I have just  started playing it.Looks like it needs a windows live id to login before the game can save  my progress.(This sucks! the updates which it shows never download properly and the live id is not downloading my profile).Goodness knows when this will get resolved! The game changes its arena to tracks around the world.From the icy regions of Norway,the deserts of Kenya and the rocky terrains of the United States. It was quite a challenge initially but I did manage to finish a the top by the end of the day... yay!

The last one is "Prototype" I have been told that this had been one the popular games at large. As mentioned earlier I am never good at strategy  based shooting games.But my friend Hemanth convinced me to give it a try considering the powerful  GPU  the notebook comes with.Another experience here again as we can act on our will and become shape lifters after consuming people on Times Square. This one looks like a promising game and perhaps in the long-term I may get hooked to it since it's a very lengthy game.

I may get to learn more about gaming from Hemanth as time progresses,for he is one of the most accomplished at games I have ever met!

Friday, April 29, 2011


It was a trip down memory lane for me while I was at my school  on Thursday  in this week. I had planned that visit to wade through the hundreds of photographs ever taken by my school management throughout its existence  dating back to 1979.Last week, on good Friday,I along with my old time friend Santosh, visited our principal at her residence.It was during this time that I requested her to give me access to this huge photo collection.My idea was to make a collage out of them taking out selective photographs of all the people with whom I had a relationship as a schoolmate.

I went to the school around 11.00 A.M in the morning.The scorching sun was not going to deter me to sit patiently through all those photos!.After a bit of searching,We were able to ferret out the photos which were stacked in a locked cupboard in the Library room.It was not an easy task for me to wade through all the voluminous collection while taking a beat from the hot sun. I sat down by ideating a strategy where I could select the pictures which would reflect my growth as a student right from my kinder garden days.While most of them were available, I stayed back for some extra time to get my sister's and my senior's pictures who also studied till one point of time in the same school as I.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Class 10"][/caption]

It was almost 1.30 in the afternoon when I was half the way.The best thing to sort out the pictures I thought were to bring them home and select them.By the time it was finished I was able to narrow down to 77 photographs on the whole from the huge collection. There might have been more,but then no one would accept them for scanning considering the huge maintainance   of HP scanners. I wish I could get more of them for scanning. The new school building was also the place where I pursued my last two years of school grade 9 and grade 10. The first thing when I went there was to go into the class which we left to enter college.

Thank you Madhu Miss for accepting my request to access such a timeless treasure! Good old days flashed through my mind in  this short span while I spent with this gave me a sojourn from the day-to-day chaos which we constantly face.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

3 years on,Facebook to me becomes both a Boon and a Bane

It was the year 2006, I was still getting used to the so called social networking sites in those days,we probably just had 2 or 3 in India, Orkut,Hi5 and Facebook. Orkut was something new to me in my bachelors.My friend recommended that I start using it in the hope that I will find my childhood friends in the longterm. I did find many of them already discussing our schooling  days and sending out "scraps" on to each other accounts..

"Orkuting" was the new  trend and was considered to be a must amongst over selves. Where ever I used to go - to the Internet cafes or to  my friend's place, Orkut was the talk of the town.Every youngster of my age were glued to it. Or so it seemed. When many of my friends  went  to the United States to pursue their masters, there was a paradigm shift.Since Orkut was unknown territory , people shifted to Facebook,I was forced to adapt it was well.  There was a choice I had to make,I could not say no to something new  at the cost of loosing  the connection with my friends.

I must admit that although I use Orkut less frequently now since most of my buddies are into Facebook,I cannot deny the fact that Orkut's  Interface is Very even and things are pretty neatly distributed across the board.
Older version of Orkut circa 2006

Orkut was pretty straight forward to use,your friends would send a scrap in your scrap-book or probably ping you within the built-in gtalk and you would reply back.Facebook for me on the other hand was like a labyrinth system which I had to wade through in order to  get what I really wanted.The continous flow of new feeds from your friends and their "friends" was something which I was not at all expecting. Getting updates amongst my friends was a melee, and it looked as if the information flowing  on the wall was never going to end. Why should I even give a damn for something which is not even related to me? If  my friend liked or commented  something on his "friend"s wall,I get an update !Makes no sense to me! This kind of  implementation forces me to block my friend's updates from my wall .what other choice do I have?

As if this was not enough,FB asks me all the time to share my phone number to increase my "security",what kind of security only almighty knowns!.With 500 Million users they must be looking at the commercial angle of  "sharing" user's info with their partner firms or perhaps big brother himself  ;)

I realized of late that Facebook has become so pervasive that I accidentally bump in into many friends, some of them from my early childhood while at school.This is only one of the reprieving things I had for some time now.Some of them have not been in touch for the past 14 years and all of a sudden they are conversing with me! Apart from this positive outcome everything else just casts a shadow.I must admit that I have become addicted to this drug called Facebook which is eating my valuable time,although I tend to analyze my online activities, of late some of them are simply going out of my hand. Facebook being one of them. I think its time I should listen to my mother again and probably spend less on the internet to an extent only when I need it. Some times I feel she is probably right when she says  how I  am isolating my self  by sticking to the PC and the internet all the time . May be I should just stick to some constructive things and leave the rest.I must read more books...

I am waiting for the newer version of Orkut to come out. While I can't deny that  Facebook is  bridging  the digital divide among my friends and family,the question remains...  but at what cost?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tinkering with Google Analytics

I finally managed to  learn some of the fundas  behind Google Analytics.Although  I was still searching for a domain of mine own to learn about this service, A friend of mine  offered me to help by sharing his portal's  data for starters.This was certainly a blessing in disguise for me since Ive been trying to get a hands on experience on the same for a very long time now. My only thought was to learn the know- how of utilizing the servicing to the best and henceforth optimize my blog accordingly.

I still use a third party analytic service which can cater to only some of the basic parameters of visitor numbers,but perhaps Google Analytics will provide more insights into visitor trends?My first day while I spend some time on it meant it definitely does!

I am no freak for getting more traffic to my blog, but my curiosity for  technology and web trends drives me to learn and explore these new spheres.While I still regularly use  the AJAX based goingup.com, I wanted to find the variations in  the feature set between these two services. While  some of the options in both of them might be generic in nature, digging into the site,I find some new and interesting options to tinker with. Browsers,OSe's,Visitor locations all of them might be available in most of the services we find these days. Some new features which I found in this service :

Visitor Loyality:

Useful to assess   a Visitor's nth visit to the same page or site.  User's attachment to a brand or a blog  will bring him back repeatedly to the same site.Quite a useful feature to know about the kind of visitor's who visit your site in the longterm.It explains some parameters like length,recency and depth of Visits(Page Views)

Map Overlay:

Providing county wise breakup of visitors,including returning visits and unique visits,the advanced search filter will help in providing country specific web traffic trends .Performance and web traffic comparisions between various geographic location should give us an Idea of where our site is more visible and where it is not.

Monitoring your Ad words and TV campaigns :

Maintaining and monitoring your monetary spending  on the site and checking for your ROI,useful if you use your site  in conjunction with Google Ad words and  track your make ting campaigns.This is something new which I find here and should definitely learn more about them at the right time.

Content Segementation and Optimization :

Another new feature which I found in GA.This feature should provide the way in which your visitors found your site,the most clicked  segments within a single page and  navigation paths which lead visitors to your landing page. Considering all these parameters while we  re-design our  website or making  it more visible for search engines though SEO should be an added advantage.

Goal Conversions and Search Engine Referrals

While I would not want to concentrate on Goals and Custom Variables since I have no intention of  putting up Monetary elements within the my blog,I choose to ignore it for the time being. Search Engine referrals are intriguing in nature.While I completely don't know how Google and Bing crawl for information, I understand that in some ways their algorithms may be Organic.Page ranking and "Decision" based search   referrals  make a  little difference in getting to your site.

I might learn more about this when I get it on my blog, but till then this little learning experience is definitely a head-start.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Microsoft Tech.ed India 2011,Bangalore

I was  in Bangalore City, to attend Microsoft's Tech.ed conference. It was a  unique opportunity to meet and mingle among my fellow MVP's.Each of them who are community leaders across various domains and who specialize in their own areas of expertise.From the first day to the last, I got to meet some exceptional people at the venue.While I was unknown initially due to my recent nomination,I made some acquaintance with  the other MVP's at the "Meet you MVP session".

The Tech.ed took place at the Lalit Ashok hotel,not from where I was living. The heavy and un -predictable traffic of Bangalore meant that I had to start at least an hour before to reach the venue on time.With lots of expectations and a bit of anxiety, I made it to the venue.It was nice to attend the conference without any registration fees, Kudos to my MVP team lead Abhishek Kanth for lobbying on our behalf! First thing, I met my friend Pranav at the hotel.Pranav is an active member of the Microsoft User Group Hyderabad.

[caption id="attachment_972" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="At the Tech.ed Expo"][/caption]

While there were plenty of tracks and sessions taking place for IT pros and Developers,I wanted to concentrate on the MVP sessions and round tables which were to take place through out those three days.I spent some time in attending some sessions on HTML5,Sql server, and Windows Azure.

Highlights of the Event :

On the first day, we had the "Meet your MVP" session. An opportunity to know and interact with all the attending MVP's and User Group Leads.I was quite surprised to find a couple of them from Hyderabad! They all had the same feeling too.We never knew there were 8 to 9 MVP's from the city.In all 35 MVP's and a couple of User group leads and Community members attended the session. Our team Lead Abhishek Kanth explained the agenda behind the meet and gave us a broader outline of what was in store in the coming days

[caption id="attachment_974" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Abhishek Kanth explaining the agenda"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_978" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="At the "Meet the MVP" session"][/caption]

I figured out that most of them were from either ASP or Sql based backgrounds.I guess I will find more of them from my category at the MVP open day.We introduced ourselves,explained how it all started and shared a bit about the online  communities,blogs and forums which we regularly participate in.Having settled down at the venue it was time to set out and attend some sessions/tracks on .NET since consider my self a noob in that  domain.I also tried out some cool stuff for the first time,like the Microsoft Kinect Gaming Controller and The Microsoft Surface

[caption id="attachment_976" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Trying out the Kinect Device"][/caption]

As an MVP  I had a unique opportunity to interact with some folks from Microsoft who are behind some of its emerging technologies like Windows Azure,IE9 and the Common Language Run time in Visual Studio.We met Bharat Shah(General Manager, Developer Experience ) ,Jason Zander(Corporate Vice President ,Visual Studio)  and Brian Hall (General Manager for IE9 and Windows Live) and Yousef Khalidi(Distinguished Engineer,Windows Azure)

[caption id="attachment_977" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Round table meet with Yousef Khalidi, Distinguished Engineer Windows Azure"][/caption]

There was some great  food and  and the ending of the tech.ed had a surprise in store for us.Cricketing legend Anil Kumble  took the stage and answered a couple of questions about the lessons he learnt in his life and shared some wisdom for us to grasp.Over all the attending the event was worth it and I am really looking forward to the MVP Open day at the India Development Center in Hyderabad in sometime around May.

[caption id="attachment_979" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Cricket Legend Anil Kumble at the Tech.ed"][/caption]

I  am leaving this place today with many good memories.I may come back in the future to this garden city.But till then Adios Bangalore!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It's summer time again....

February has come and gone and I can already feel the surge in temperature.This year's winter had record setting temperature of 6 Celsius in Hyderabad,certainly not common.While waking up in the early morning to rush to the office by 7.30 was a big deal in Winter,the present situation has changed all that.

Apart from the office hours where I am spared from the rising heat, it's mostly sultry.Earlier when I used to have my week offs from Tuesday to Thursday I had the habit of  taking the 7.40 train in the morning to get back home.Sunrise comes early now and so does the heat.By the time I reach my home I am either exhausted due to the weather or  would probably just go and take a short nap.All this due to the excess usage of body fluids in the form of sweat.

This transition of seasons also brings in minor body pains and running fever.While this would be quite natural in a tropical climate like India, my sinuosities problem adds more fuel to the issue.It was  on monday when I suddenly started shivering in the afternoon while at the office.An AC vent right above me must have been the reason I thought. But it was the symptom of the impending  fever and cold which I had to face and am still suffering from.Suffering from cold in the winter would be common to any one, but this type of flu in the summer season is a  nightmare. It will not leave  your nasal cavity so soon and you must be  patient  for it to go off completely.I am waiting for when that will happen!

My mother always used to warn me about the onset of this summer flu,I would not listen to her.Now I know how it affects me.The installation of a new Air conditioning unit in the home is a relief,but I wonder if it can really handle the extreme temperatures during mid May  when the afternoons burn at 48 to 49 C.Having said that,summer is the only time when people would relish  all things fluid. There is  the road side sugar cane juice, Lemon juice,plenty of Ice creams and not to mention, taking a late night shower to sooth the body

I am now taking the first train out of Hyderabad at 5.30 in the morning to avoid the side effects of the heat. While I come home I have noticed that my pam which used to be very active all the time is a bit dull and shows no interest while I am at the gate. Perhaps she too is feeling the pinch.The green paddy fields which used to flash by during my train journeys   during the monsoon and the winter are no longer there... the country side seems to be lull ,and all I can see is a Mirage covering large areas of the land.... While we can protect over selves from  Mother nature to a certain extent, at some point of time we have to take a beating from the heat....There is no real escape.... But there are preventions

Drink loads of water, have salted  buttermilk and lemon juice at frequent intervals and small pieces of onion in the pockets  to keep sun strokes at bay,eat icecreams and enjoy the season because it's summer time again!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

After all,what are friends for ?

Seven months ago when I joined the Geo Content Ops in Hyderabad, I never imagined that friendship would be invaluable even in  our professional life.We see and read about the value and importance of friendship,At times  I've experienced  a  kind of emotional bonding which is in friendship,can't express it in words but I am sure we all have gone through it at some or other point in our life. While we generally have loads of friends from our elementary and high school days, As time progresses I've noticed very few of them have the zeal to stay in touch,hopefully Facebook and Orkut are changing all that.

I wish to share some   instances here, may be because my Karma was  good during that time.

It was during  the  first day in my  Bachelors and I was at the office paying my tuition fees, I saw a lanky person beside  me,he was a bit shy and was probably looking around to find the right class,I told his elder brother who had come along with him that as we both were from the same section, I will tag him along with me.Not a day has passed since that time when I always thought how lucky I was to get such a good friend in the form of Rajkumar.I say this because his acquaintance on the first day was  a blessing in disguise. My last 2 years at the  high school  were a mess and I never thought I could be back on the track in my academics.Luckily my friendship with Rajkumar changed all that!. The 4 years I studied with him,    I  became more Industrious.No one would believe that I had so much variance in my GPA between my high school and bachelors.Coming from a humble background he  proved that Diligence and Zeal  for education would take any person to great echelons.

Fast forward, I was finishing my bachelors and was wondering what to do next.Since recession was in full swing.And then I got an opportunity which some of my friends  were really envious of ;) To Intern the Global Marketing Hub of Ogilvy and Lenovo.I was second time lucky since a senior member of the forum gladly accepted my request and helped me to obtain that Internship.That was the first step of my professional life and also a very good learning opportunity.That some one would help me without even knowing me in person was truly another blessing.The short stint at Ogilvy made me more bold in nature. My parents were amused to see me change as a person from then on.

While I got into a regular full-time Job at Geo Content Ops,Life was seeming to settle down,but as it turned out I realised it is not  a bed of roses.I was in a  tight spot and was emotionally depressed for a month.It is here that I found not one but many  souls who have being helping me and mentoring me a lot.Their timely  and swift response towards me is something which I really appreciate.Fourth time lucky I must say since I found another good soul,Hemanth.He along with some  extra ordinary people have been my guides to achieve the required target. It feels disturbing to my mind when I think of leaving the place with so many admirable persons around me if I had to.

Thank you Rajkumar for being my first time lucky friend, had I not met you after screwing two years of my life, goodness knows where I would have been today!. Thank you Mark for providing the Internship opportunity at Ogilvy-Lenovo,that short stint has changed me as a person and made me to realise that I have some really good  potential .  And finally thank you Hemanth,Gaddemedi,Madhuri and Jonnada from Geo Content Ops, you guys exceptional!

One should never totally believe in Karma,but if things were to go in the wrong way for you,believe in your self.Some events in my life were not pre planned but then almighty must have made sure that I get to experience these points.In the end your self belief will help you get along things in life, and having good friends is  like a gift from  Almighty im my opinion. As the saying goes

"When true friends meet in adverse hour;
'Tis like a sunbeam through a
A watery way an instant seen,
The darkly closing clouds between"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2 years of Wordpress Blogging

Two years ago,I had a brief exchange about blogging on Wordpress with one of my friends.Before that I was experimenting with Live spaces.Blogspot was already on my radar on that time but I was never really using it except when I had to test  it for Google's Adsense and Analytics tools.I did not have any target audience in mind,nor any specific topic to blog on.Only some random thoughts which I started pouring over when ever I had free time.

The theme which I started and still use is the misty theme by sadish.I found  wordpress to be simple and professional  when compared to the other two which I mentioned.I wondered what could be put into my first blog post. Obviously my schooling days were the best thing of which I could write about!As days passed by,I started adding widgets and began tinkering with the dashboard,learning all the fundas of a blog and how to manage it.As and when I had some free time,I was trying out various cosmetic changes to the blog in terms of fonts and headers used.

I was on orkut one day when I came across an interesting application called crazy fonts.

The idea worked very well and I used these fonts for the main heading(Blog name). As my blogging increased in frequency over the months,I was interested to know if  It was really getting any views in the Blogosphere.I could not use Google Analytics since Wordpress.com would not support Java script snippets. Buying a separate domain was out of question since Wordpress.com provided most of what a blogger could ask for. And then I came across a wonderful website(In my opinion) which provided the basic insights of your blog's exposure on the Information Super Highway.Thus I started to use Goingup.com for the past one year to learn about the basic analytics and SEO stuff which one can learn and implement on their own blog/website.

Another thing which I wanted was to connect with my fellow bloggers in India, therefore I joined the Indiblogger community which has one of the largest number of active members.It was also a very good platform to learn from their own blogging experiences.The header image which came with the theme was too simple in my opinion,so I started to change to a new header for every4 months,I even added when the save your tigers campgain was being launced in India.I wanted to use something which was close to my heart.That paved the way for using the "Save your tiger" and the Indian Railways header.Few months down the line, my side bar had a lot of additions inlcluding a twitter stream of mine.I now wanted to have a blogroll,so I choose some of the best blogs and some more which I believed would help me to understand the human nature. I also started adding and changing captions under the Blog's name.

I only choose those captions which reflect my identity and that of my blog.

I has been an interesting ride till now,only time will tell if I am using this platform to the fullest of my abilities.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thinkpad Active Protection System - Train Test

Two days ago,I was returning to my native place along with my friend.I got into the Intercity Express,the usual train which I take every week to come back home during my week off's. Some time into the journey I was showing  pictures and videos  of my travels to my friend. As the train left Hyderabad it picked up speed and was travelling at an excess of 100 kmph.The train was swaying from side to side(A common sight in the Indian railways during high speed)

And then I saw the APS jump into action,never seen that before because this was also the first time I used it outside.The travel video's which we were watching were getting freezed(The APS was doing its job!)My friend who did not know what this was all about was curious to know the reason,and then I though why not see how the sensors work in such a scenario? This was indeed exciting to me

The moment of the APS display synchronized exactly with the trains moments.......Super cool technology...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Incredible India -- The story of Warangal

Old is gold people say,it perfectly made sense to me when I set out on a one day trip to explore my native city, Warangal.It was planned after having extensive discussions with my team mates at my organization.This time though it was a new experience for me all together since I was their guide.We started with an early morning departure from Hyderabad at 5.30 AM in the morning.Since we had to visit and explore many places in a day's time ,it was prudent to set out before sunrise.

Two hours after travelling by road we reached Warangal. The weather had by then turned a bit warm and balmy(considering the high temperatures here,this was a pleasant surprise as well).This was also a very good chance for me to explain to them the historic significance of this ancient city and its prominence in India's History.

Our first stop was was thousand Pillared temple,located in the center of the city.1100 Years ago Warangal was no small town but was rather the thriving capital of the powerful Kakatiya Dynasty.Their kingdom and power extended to most of southern India through the 11th and 12th Century A.D.The temple we visited is an architectural marvel of sorts.Not only because of its name but it is one of the few monolithic structures to be built entirely from a single rock formation.The intricate carvings and the sculptures within the walls of the temple justify its significance.
[caption id="attachment_898" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="The magestic thousand pillared temple at Hanamkonda,Warangal "][/caption]

As in the case of other ancient cities around the world,Building temples must have been one of the many power plays which rulers would do in order to maintain and extend their cultural dominance and leave back a legacy.That legacy continues down the line in one form or another and becomes a part of everyone within the society
[caption id="attachment_900" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Main ceiling inside the temple "][/caption]

The sculptures themselves explain the rich architecture and cultural heritage brought by the kings.Would modern day architects ever think of designing such a structure which could signify our race?.I doubt it!The temple has gone through many Invasions by Islamic rulers and has stood well through the tests of time.

Next stop on the list was Ramappa temple,built in 1213 A.D by the same rulers in early years of 13th century A.D.There is specialty in the material used with this structure as well,The bricks used to build the temple can actually float on water!Partly damaged by an earthquake,it still stands majestically with its long spire going towards the heavens
[caption id="attachment_907" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Skyscrapers of Ancient India "][/caption]

There is no dearth of richness here as well.I was amazed to know that escape tunnels existed underground in those days which ran for 70kms between these two temples,in case the kings had to escape from an enemy invasion.The walls are filled with carvings explaining the various Hindu Mythologies and beliefs.Sacred texts being displayed in the form of carvings and art.I was also happy to see that both of them are now undergoing restoration under the auspices of The Archeological Survey of India.With the possible inclusion in the Unesco's World Heritage Site list on cards,this will certainly expose their presence among my fellow countrymen and the rest of the world

[caption id="attachment_911" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Simply Splendorous "][/caption]

Our day ended with a visit to a picturesque lake in a small tribal village called laknewaram.Situated inside a beautiful valley,and covered with thick forest on all the sides,it was sheer delight which filled us while we came there.The famous cantilever bridge which stands in between the various islands among the lake is the major attraction as it was built by the local tribal men.It has became so famous now that even the BBC has made a special mention of it in its prime time programs.
[caption id="attachment_913" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Nature at it's best "][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_915" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="The famous cantilever bridge built by tribesmen "][/caption]

Some times I wonder how could our ancestors complete such wonderful projects with rudimentary tools and man power.There was also a sense of pride within me as well,not because I was the guide for the trip but due to the fact that I was born and brought up in such a historic city which has a story dating back to 1100 years....Indeed Old is gold....