Welcome 2009

December 31st, 2008

2008 was awesome! I hit a few jackpots & had some lows. I changed jobs & made some cool friends. But then above all this, over the last 365 days, I had some phenomenal realizations, which are documented below. Of course, they may be very simple for most of you. But then, I learnt them on my own in some unforgettable ways.

  1. Learnt to say “No”.
  2. Went punctually to most places this year. I kept a count of the places I had to visit. I had been on time on 85% of the occassions (don’t count the Kalari classes yet). Previously, this used to bug me a lot. Not anymore I guess. Have to bring it to 100% in 2009.
  3. Learnt that good things and bad things happen equally. That is, we [humans] must not feel too overwhelmed by the good or by the bad. Few guys may now recall the power of “Krishnarpanamasthu”.
  4. Realized that the concept of God is a placeholder.
  5. Became a bit more intuitive.
  6. Enjoyed life every moment. I learnt to look at life’s happenings from a third angle, thereby, getting some really cool insights. This had been very useful when I’m confronted with a few tough problems.
  7. Learnt to focus on the item in context. That is, “getting in the zone” has become easier. Have to improve this in 2009.
  8. Started diversifying my knowledge beyond computers. Actually I started this in 2007 itself. But 2008 saw deeper indulgence in art related activities such KalariĀ and Astronomy. On computer related stuff, I felt *very* happy to see the return of “security related activities”. Started learning how to write secure code.
  9. Number of lies have drastically come down. Have to push it to zilch in 2009. I can pinpoint the reasons to which they have come down but I won’t reveal them here šŸ˜‰
  10. The world is not fair and will never be fair.
I guess that’s it. What were your realizations?
Have a great 2009! Wishing you a very happy and prosperous new year! šŸ˜€

Ā 

Note: Rant ahead :) . If you don’t like reading rants, please use the menu bar above and read other blog posts. Thanks!

As you all know, I have a nokia E51 phone. Recently, when I moved in to my new office, I was very happy to find out that we have good WiFi and wanted to configure it on my phone. I configured WiFi but then I wasn’t able to browse any website. After some digging, I found out that the wifi connection passed through a proxy server which required authentication. So, I figured out where to give the proxy server address and port number. But then there was no place to give my proxy username and password. I searched high and low, but just couldn’t find it & thought of contacting the Nokia Tech Support guys.

After contacting them, the following conversation ensued, which proved that they are idiots, who are not even able to understand the question I’m asking & who will also never ask for clarifications (if they do not understand something). Let me also tell you that this is NOT the first time they are being idiots. When I had a small problem with my phoneĀ last time & they couldn’t resolve it after a zillion emails back and forth, I blasted them with foul words. Then someone from Nokia gave a call & they had a personalized look into the problem which was resolved after two months.

Now that their stupidity has creeped up again, I’m going to reveal it here for the world to see.

Assuming that they would understand a question about proxy server, I sent an email through their tech support website as below:

Hi, there is WLAN at my work place & I’m able to connect to it. Is there a way I can setup the native phone web browser to connect to the internet through the proxy on WLAN?

Please help. Thanks!

….to which they have responded as follows:

Dear Mr. Anand,

Thank you for e-mailing Nokia Care.

This e-mail is in reference to the WLAN functionality of your Nokia E-51. We appreciate your interest in Nokia phone. We would like to inform you that currently, Nokia phones do not provide access to the internet through default phone browser while connected to WLAN.

However, please be assured that your feedback is valued and we endeavour to address any suggestion that may be raised by our customers. We have forwarded your suggestion to our Customer Feedback Division for their due consideration.

…..

followed by more bullshit, which I have removed here ! It’s almost a week now & my problem is not yet resolved. Conversation is still going on. If any of you know how to solve this problem, please tell me.

Ghajini (Hindi) & Mayajaal

December 28th, 2008

On Christmas day, myself and 2 friends of mine decided to see Ghajini. We got tickets at Mayajaal and headed there for the night show.

Movie Review

Ghajini

The movie is good. For those who have seen the tamil version already, you can guess scene by scene of what would happen & you will not be wrong. It is a scene by scene by rip off from the tamil version, except the climax. Everywhere, just replace Aamir Khan with Suriya and its more or less the same tamil film. All the crew I knew of, except Aamir Khan, Asin’s ad agency’s manager (played by Tinu Anand)Ā and Nayanthara’s role (played by Jiah Khan), were the same as in the tamil film. Hence, the movie is not that much of a surprise. The director has thrown in more scenes of violence than in the tamil version.

Asin has acted brilliantly. It was far better than how she did it in the tamil version. Somehow I felt, her acting had more maturity in the Hindi version and it felt far more ‘complete’ than how she performed in the tamil Ghajini. Needless to say, Aamir did a poor job. Except for his 8 pack body, there was no other “wow” acting moment in the scenes of Aamir. Given his acting supremacy, heĀ should have done a better job. Comparisons are inevitable with the tamil Ghajini. Seeing Suriya in the executive’s role gave a complete feel where asĀ Aamir did a poor job there. Suriya’s acting was more natural while that wasn’t the case with the hindi actor. In many places, I observed that Aamir had flaunted needless ‘gethu’ in the executive role, whereas Suriya’s executive role eased him in to place.

Jiah Khan’s role was more creamy in this film. She had lot of prominence in her scenes & I felt she did a good job. Except in a few places where she was emoting badly, she did a good job (even better than Aamir :) ).

Climax …. Yes! there’s a change in climax in the hindi version. There’s no double action of the villian in the hindi version. Instead, Aamir chases the villian and thrashes his head in just the same way the villian did to him and his love earlier in the movie. What Indian movie is that without needless heroism? :) There’s lot of “hero is supreme” moments here. I won’t give out more details to spoil the climax. So go ahead and enjoy the movie. Climax was one of the better scenesĀ in the whole movie.

Mayajaal

I don’t recommend Mayajaal to see Ghajini. We were given the tickets for the movie on Screen 3. As soon as I entered the theatre hall, my first reaction was, “Oh! Shit”. It stank. Literally. Chairs were not comfortable and within minutes, my back was aching. The theatre is very small and the screen is even smaller. In most places, carpets are off their holdings. Between shows, the hall was not even cleaned. Therefore, thereĀ were lot of cups and plastic covers strewn around.

May be other screens are good. But 120 bucks for this screen is totally not worth it. May be 40 bucks. But surely not more. Snacks are priced at atrocious rates. I don’t see why multiplexes should charge atrocious rates for snacks. About 5 spoons of bhelpuri cost 35 bucks. A small pack of popcorn cost Rs. 40/-. Its not the question of money here. Its about the value we receive for the amount we pay, which is zilch.

A pack of popcorn … 40 bucks; A movie ticket … 120 bucks; Petrol expenses to drive to Mayajaal … 100 bucks; Theatre stinkingĀ for the all money you paidĀ … priceless!

I highly don’t recommend Mayajaal for another movie. Its useless to drive 30 KM from the city, to sit in stinking theatres, to watch remade movies. Nevertheless, the movie was good but please don’t see it in Mayajaal. Totally not worth it!

New horizontal menu on my blog

December 22nd, 2008

Hello my dear dudes and dudettes, IĀ have added a new menu bar to the blog header to enable ye’ all to find some of my nice blog posts really easily. If you are on a feed reader, do visit the website and check out the horizontal bar & give me your feedback.Ā 

Here are some more items that are on the roadmap:

  1. Blog post toolbar – At the top and bottom of each blog post, you will be able to see a toolbar using which you can easily digg the post, email it, share it, print it (minus all the other graphics) & export it as PDF.
  2. Search – Coming soon!
  3. An experimental Facebook Connect integration for the comments section. This will come after quite some time.
Let me know if you would like any other feature.

Hide Menu Bar in Opera

December 18th, 2008

Menu Bar is such a waste of screen real estate in web browsers. There was no inbuilt preference in opera that would enable me to hide or show menu bar with a single key toggle. Opera allows the users to customize its keyboard shortcuts to a great extent. So, here’s how you go about toggling the menu bar in opera.

  1. Go to Tools -> Preferences.
  2. Click the “Advanced” tab.
  3. Select “Shortcuts” from the left side menu.
  4. Select “Opera Standard” under “Keyboard Setup” and click on “Edit” button.
  5. From the “Edit Keyboard Window” popup, select “Application” and then on “New” button.
  6. Now type “F10” without quotes, press Tab key & then type “Enable menu bar | Disable menu bar” without quotes.
  7. Now click “OK” button on both the windows.

Enjoy!

Power of 140 Characters

December 12th, 2008

For the first time ever, twitter proved amazingly useful. It proved how useful, as a tool, it is for marketing purposes & connecting with customers. I was writing a simple blogging client to post to various blogs. I have never tried TypePad until now & visited their website to sign up to open an account. To my surprise their sign up required me to link a credit card with my account even for the 14 day trial, which put me off.

So, I logged in to twitter and posted this tweet. Within a few hours, Ms. Ginevra Whalen (I even had a doubt whether it was Mr. Whalen or Ms. Whalen and successfully addressed her as Mr. Whalen at first) responded & said that they would give me a free trial if I wasn’t up to anything nefarious šŸ˜€ . I was really so damn impressed and surprised to find that a company took my 140 characters seriously & emailed me.

Today morning, I got an invite code which gave me free trial for 30 days & signed up.

Thank you Twitter. Thank you Six Apart.

Threaded Tweets

December 6th, 2008

Update: Check out the conversations that were generated using this tool :)

Have you had a tough time following a conversation on twitter? Only to find that a frustrated you had to wait until the last tweet in the thread was done and then you navigated through the replies backwards. Not anymore šŸ˜€

Visit http://www.aswinanand.com/twitter.htmlĀ and give the last twitter ID in the whole conversation list & watch as the page gets populated with tweets in the order in which they were posted.

This was quickly hacked up in an hour & hence its kinda very rough. Kindly use this and give me feedback.

Enjoy!

Whoa! never expected that this feature would come so soon. Now orkut is deeply integrated with Google Talk and you can chat with your gtalk friends and orkut friends (with google account) from within the orkut interface itself. Considering the fact that lot of my friends are on orkut, this is a very good feature that they have now. Good for India in general because everyone I know is on Orkut rather than Facebook or MySpace.

Here’s a screenshot for you:

google talk integration with orkut

Clickfor a larger image.

Webbynode

December 1st, 2008

Hey guys, thanks to Sudar I came to know about Webbynode.

Its a new linux based VPS service that lets you host your django, rails and other LAMP based apps with full root access to your VPS. Moreover, there are ready-to-deploy stacks for RoR, django and LAMP. Do check them out at http://www.webbynode.com.

As of now, what I feel lacking from their website are the number of technical articles. Just see how many Slicehost has and you will know. Guess they will surely follow up with more as they launch.