Kalari

July 18th, 2008

Kalari a.k.a Kalaripayattu is a form of traditional martial art that is believed to have originated in Kerala and then spread slowly across the world. Legend says it that, when Saint Parasurama (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) threw the axe into the Arabian sea, the water receeded until the point of the axe and Kerala was born. To protect this land, Parasurama taught Kalari to 21 saints across the state who have been spreading their knowledge through dedicated disciples since then.

I have been learning Kalari since the last 2 weeks. I have attended five classes so far & I must say that its absolutely great. The best part of learning Kalari is that its fun. And the most basic lesson you get to learn is how to control your mind and get it to a meditative state, where you don’t have to “do” anything and everything happens automatically. Well, you have to be there to understand what I mean :)

There are essentially tons of other ways to keep yourself fit and this is one of those amazing pieces that very little people get to learn, very very few get to expertise level and even fewer become true masters. I found an interesting website when I was searching for Kalari videos. The website is http://www.kalari.in/. Go visit it and definitely check out their videos section. Its truly amazing!

 

Update: There seems to be some problem when the API is being accessed from my domain. Kindly try hosting the script in your own domains.

Hi friends, if you are in India and if you are developing software prototypes which has to send SMS alerts to various Indian mobile numbers, you needn’t spend a lot to buy SMS credits at the various sites. Over the last weekend, I spent some time hacking up a quick SOAP based web service which you can consume in your programs.

Please note that you need to create an account at www.way2sms.com before proceeding further.

How to Use – Method 1:

Currently the web service is active at http://www.aswinanand.com/sendsms.php. This accepts four parameters.

Parameter Name Description
uid This represents the 10 digit phone number with which you have to login at way2sms.
Note: This web service may not work if you try logging in with email address.
pwd Your way2sms password
phone One or more phone numbers to which SMS has to be sent. Phone numbers should be separated by semicolon (;). E.g. 9812345678;9933445566
msg Message that has to be sent.

The URL – http://www.aswinanand.com/sendsms.php – can be invoked with the parameters as follows:

http://www.aswinanand.com/sendsms.php?uid=9933445566&pwd=password&phone= 9812345678;9933445566&msg=Hello+World

You can also do a HTTP POST to the same URL to send the SMS. Here’s an example:

<form method=”post” action=”http://www.aswinanand.com/sendsms.php“>
<input type=”hidden” name=”uid” value=”9933445566″ />
<input type=”hidden” name=”pwd” value=”password” />
<input type=”hidden” name=”phone” value=”9812345678;9933445566″ />
<input type=”hidden” name=”msg” value=”Hello World” />
<input type=”submit” value=”Send SMS” />
</form>

How to Use – Method 2:

The functionality is also exposed as a SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) WSDL (Web Service Description Language). WSDL can be accessed at http://www.aswinanand.com/sendsms.php?wsdl. To know more about how to use this WSDL in Microsoft Visual Studio, check out this article.

Deploying on your own Server:

To deploy this SMS script on your own server, first download the source code & follow the instructions:

  1. Let us assume that you wish to run the service at http://www.example.com/sms/sendsms.php. Here, http://www.example.com/ is your domain, “sms” is the folder and “sendsms.php” is the PHP script in that folder.
  2. Hence, using FTP or SSH, login to your domain hosting space and create a folder named “sms”.
  3. Extract the source code to the “sms” folder. If you don’t want to expose a SOAP WSDL, feel free to skip to step 6.
  4. Since the SMS source code supports SOAP, you have to download the ‘nusoap’ library. Then extract the ‘nusoap’ library to the same “sms” folder.
  5. Once everything is extracted, the folder structure should be:
    • example.com
      • sms/
        • sendsms.php
        • htmlparser.inc (optional)
        • nusoap/
          • class.nusoap_base.php
          • class.soap_transport_http.php
          • class.wsdlcache.php
          • class.soap_fault.php
          • class.soap_val.php
          • class.xmlschema.php
          • class.soap_parser.php
          • class.soapclient.php
          • class.soap_server.php
          • class.wsdl.php
          • nusoapmime.php
          • nusoap.php
  6. Try accessing your web service at http://www.example.com/sms/sendsms.php now.
You can use the same parameters described above for sendsms.php and access it as:

http://www.example.com/sms/sendsms.php?uid=9933445566&pwd=password&phone= 9812345678;9933445566&msg=Hello+World

or you can also do a HTTP POST as indicated above.

License Information:

The source code is licensed under “Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial”. Downloading the file(s) mean that you have agreed license terms.

Download:

Download the PHP source code here.

Other Languages:

Currently this SMS web service is available in the following programming languages:

Misc:

If you liked this web service, please digg it :) . Kindly take it for a test drive and let me know if you find any bugs.

Hey guys! I discovered two feed proxies.

  1. http://www.netvibes.com/proxy/feedProxy.php?test=1&url=__FEED_URL__
  2. http://my.live.com/cfw/news.aspx?fetchurl=__FEED_URL__

Replace the __FEED_URL__ with the feed URL of your choice. Of the two feed proxies above, I like Netvibe’s proxy as the best because of the following reasons:

  1. Feed output is JSON. This means that, netvibes has done all the necessary work to convert feeds of any type (RSS, ATOM, RDF etc.) into JSON.
  2. If you are writing a script to examine feeds from various sites, you have only one data structure to deal with 😉
  3. Almost all programming languages support JSON. Refer to www.json.org for JSON libraries available for various programming languages.
  4. JSON by itself is very lightweight and eliminates most of the overhead of XML, thereby preserving bandwidth.
  5. A simple program in VB.NET to parse a JSON structure and get the required feed data in a Dictionary datatype is only about 9 lines of code. In Ruby, it will be even lesser. Compare the same with XML output. Even though feed parsers are available, you have to create your own wrapper above everything to get everything to work out properly. Reuse what you already have (DRY Principle). Netvibes has already done the bull work to convert all kinds of feeds into a common format.
  6. Best of all, no authentication is necessary to access these links 😀

Live.com’s feed proxy returns the actual feed output. So, if the feed you are referring to gives RSS output, this proxy returns that. The same happens with ATOM, RDF etc. Keep watching this space. I will update the post with other feed proxy URLs that I encounter. If you go across any, please mention them in the comments section.

 

Dinner

July 11th, 2008

Simple dinners are awesome. One such dinner was what I had today. My mom used to make all the varieties of podis like paruppu podi (dal powder – roughly speaking), karuvepalai podi etc. on a time to time basis and we used to devour them. Podi sadham is very famous in my home. We used to mix rice & podi along with gingely oil a.k.a nallenai & then eat that mixture. Gingely oil can also be replaced with ghee.

Today’s spread was very simple. We had piping hot boiled rice, few podis, avakka oorga (mango pickle) and then butter milk to finish off.

First we have a very small serving of the mango pickle near the corner of the plate. Then, a few rounds of piping hot rice is served & a spoonful or two of ghee or gingely oil. The aroma that starts wafting now … OMG !! its awesome! And on top of this, you have to put two or three teaspoons of podi, mix well and before you start eating a morsel, touch the avakka oorga with the tip of your index finger (meaning – konjam oorga thottuko) & then eat 😀 Now, close your eyes and relish the moment. The mixture of piping hot rice, podi, oorga and ghee will make you go crazy.

After a few rounds of this combo, comes more sadham or rice that is eaten with butter milk (making butter milk with perfect taste and proper thickness is a skill in itself). For the best effect, mix a small quantity of rice with lots of butter milk e.g. 1 portion of rice with 2 portions of butter milk. After you have mixed this well, add a few drops of the mango flavoured oil, taken from the avakka oorga container. Mix this well and oru kattu kattu !!

Enjoy :-)