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April 30, 2007

Restaurant Tag

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 5:52 PM

Meghna tagged in her post on good places to eat in NY so now I have to recommend 5 places to eat in my location. Since I have been traveling a lot and have been in various cities over the past few years I am going to recommend good food places in different parts of the world that I liked.

Delhi:

Spent most of my life in Delhi but as far as restaurants are concerned I am not very upto-date on whats good. After all when you come back home after a year of eating restaurant food you want to stick with home cooked meals while you are at home. Anyways here are a couple of places that I really liked in Delhi:

1. Karnataka Food Center: This awesome restaurant is located at Sector 1, R.K. Puram. I have been eating here for the past 15 years (maybe more) and I love this place. It the THE palace to go in Delhi if you want some good south Indian food at a reasonable price. The decor is not the most classy but their food is heavenly. I really like the Onion Uttapam and Badam Milk.

2. Punjabi Dhaba’s: This is a generic entry for all the Punjabi dhaba’s located on any road going west of Delhi. These are usually small places with cots /small tables in front and while they may not look like much the food they serve is really good and reasonably priced. So if you are ever driving to Punjab/Gujarat/Rajasthan from Delhi and get hungry stop at one of these places and you wont regret it.

The best way to judge the quality of the food is to look at the amount of trucks parked outside as the truckers are the best judge of good food and if there are a lot of them around then the food is good.

Yes, their food is the really unhealthy, colestrol increasing and diet breaking swimming in butter and oil but it still tastes so damm good. :)

As a precaution if you don’t like spicy food tell them!! Otherwise they will make it really really spicy. And don’t tell them to make it mild as their mild is very spicy for most people.

New York City:

Have been there for almost 8 years now and I love the place. Its a food lovers delight with awesome restaurants everywhere. It is said that you can taste every cuisine in the world without leaving NYC and I agree. Some of these places are really good and here are some of my favorites:

3. Cafe Habana: This gem of a place is located in SOHO and if you like good Mexican food you will like this place. The food is cheap and really really good and their corn on a cob is to die for. Plus their service is really good. I have eaten at a lot of places where while the food is good the waiters/waitresses look and act like they are in a funeral but in contrast the waitress over here were friendly, cheerful and helpful.

The place is really busy so expect a wait when you show up. On weekdays its not that bad, though on weekends however the wait is a lot longer. One thing to keep in mind is that the larger your group is the longer your wait is, so don’t show up with a group of 15. The max I would take to this place would by 7 – 8 people, any more than that would be a bit difficult to fit in as the place is quite small. Another plus point is that they play some really nice music.

4. Lapalapa: This Mexican restaurant is located in the east village. I really like their brunch menu. They have a nice and friendly service with waiters that are ready to help you choose and don’t act like they would rather be doing something else. They have a heated room in the back with a glass ceiling that looks really nice when its snowing. Its sort of like sitting in a green house. If you go there, try and get seated in there. Its lovely.

5. Jaiya: This Thai place is located on the 28th street and has some really good Thai food with some good choices for vegetarians that don’t taste like boiled vegetables. Its a bit pricey but the food and the atmosphere are good.
—-

That ends my list of restaurants that I liked. Wanted to list this really good Irish place I went to in Kansas but can’t remember its name :( But it was really good and I will update the post when I remember its name.

Now I get to tag 5 other people and I choose: Aditya (Delhi), Arvind (Bangalore), Sakshi (Bombay), Surabhi (Hollywood, FL) and Vinit (Hollywood, FL)

- Suramya

PS: For some really yummy cakes check out Wengers located in Connaught Place, Delhi.

April 29, 2007

No Time…

Filed under: Humor — Suramya @ 8:39 PM

This is why I have no time:


limitedtime.gif

- Suramya

April 28, 2007

Got my laptop back. Yay!!

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 2:52 PM

Got my laptop back and its working great so far. :)
You have no idea how annoying it is to not have your computer working. I was using other computers but since I had my laptop customized to my needs it got annoying when I tried to do something on the new system and it didn’t work because I hadn’t installed that program or customized that install.

But everything’s working again. Now to reinstall Windows on Dad’s laptop…

- Suramya

April 26, 2007

Status update on my computer issues and my workarounds

Filed under: Computer Tips,My Life — Suramya @ 12:44 PM

As I had posted earlier my laptop was having issues after I got the fan fixed on the system. Now it keeps shutting down randomly anywhere from a min to 15 mins after startup. I have given it to a shop for repair and I am supposed to get it back tomorrow. Keeping my fingers crossed that it will get fixed.

My Dad’s laptop is still having the same issues as earlier (Windows install is messed up on it, Cut and paste doesn’t work. Apps refuse to start etc) but I won’t be messing with it till I get my laptop back. Since the issues got really annoying I started remote desktoping into my desktop from the laptop to work and thats been working really well. Unfortunately the XP on the laptop has gotten into such a state in the past two days that I can’t use rdp on it either. So I decided to avoid windows alltogether and booted off a Knoppix Live Linux CD on the laptop and am using rdesktop on it to access the server (My desktop). So far its working great.

I even got sound working on RDP. I can now play music on the desktop and listen to it on the laptop via RDP. Here’s the command I used to get it working:

rdesktop -r sound -z -x l -f -a 16 192.168.15.10

where:

-r sound:[local|off|remote]
Redirects sound generated on the server to the client. “remote” only has any effect when you connect to the console with the -0 option. (Requires Windows XP or newer).

-z
Enable compression of the RDP datastream.

-x
Changes default bandwidth performance behaviour for RDP5. By default only theming is enabled, and all other options are disabled (corresponding to modem (56 Kbps)). Setting experience to b[roadband] enables menu animations and full window dragging. Setting experience to l[an] will also enable the desktop wallpaper. Setting experience to m[odem] disables all (including themes). Experience can also be a hexidecimal number containing the flags.

-f
Enable fullscreen mode. This overrides the window manager and causes the rdesktop window to fully cover the current screen. Fullscreen mode can be toggled at any time using Ctrl-Alt-Enter.

-a
Sets the colour depth for the connection (8, 15, 16 or 24). More than 8 bpp are only supported when connecting to Windows XP (up to 16 bpp) or newer. Note that the colour depth may also be limited by the server configuration.


I also installed EXT2IFS on the server so that I can get access to my ext3 partitions from windows. This program provides Windows NT4.0/2000/XP/2003 with full access to Linux Ext2/Ext3 volumes by allocating drive letters to the volumes. This means all software installed on the system can access the partitions. Its really cool. Haven’t hit any issues with it so far…

So after installing all this stuff I can work without any major issues. But I still want my laptop back.

Well this is all for now. Hopefully I will get my system back soon.

- Suramya

April 24, 2007

Neave Planetarium: Learn more about the night sky

Filed under: Interesting Sites — Suramya @ 9:25 AM

Learn more about the night sky and the stars that populate it by visiting this really cool website: Neave Planetarium.

Check it out. Its impressive.

- Suramya

April 22, 2007

Laptop in critical condition

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 5:59 PM

The fan on my laptop failed so I decided to get it repaired before it caused trouble due to overheating. I already had a slight accident with the heating while I was in Bangalore. One of the rubber legs under the laptop melted due to the heat.

Anyways so I took the laptop to Nehru place and showed it to one of the shops over there. They replaced the fan and it looked like everything was working. Unfortunately when I got back home I found that I am unable to keep the laptop running for more than 5 mins at a time, it just shuts down. Looks like some sort of trouble with the CPU/heating/power-supply. Will take it back there tomorrow.

Currently using my dad’s laptop to remotely connect to my desktop. Using the desktop because the laptop has some issues with the windows version on it and I don’t want to sit on the desktop as the AC is not installed in the study room yet.

Lets see… Hopefully I can get the stupid laptop fixed.

- Suramya

April 21, 2007

Now callers can change your ringtones

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 11:38 PM

As if there weren’t enough annoying things in the world, here’s a new one. This company called Emotive has created a product that allows the Caller to choose the ring tone on the receiving end. Yes you read that correctly. The caller can choose the ringtone on your cellphone. They have already released it for Skype where a lot of people have downloaded and installed it, and now they are going to release it for the mobile market on April 24th.

I don’t think its such a good idea as I can imagine so many abuses for this technology thats its not even funny. For example, telemarketers can set their tones to be an advertisement for their services and everytime they call someone that person becomes an advertisement for them. Or a person can set the receiver’s ring tone to something embarrassing to discredit them, think something like a loud horror movie style scream when the receiver is in a meeting or trying to sleep.

The worse part is that as far as I can figure it out the control is entirely with the caller, there is no way for the receiver to opt out of this “benefit”. Whats next? Overriding the sounds on my PC?

Source: MobileTechNews

- Suramya

April 20, 2007

Madmen, shootings…

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 8:16 AM

The Virginia Tech shootings shocked the world with their savageness and they were totally unexpected. Now the entire world is asking questions about the tragedy and guessing how it could have been averted. They don’t realize the following basic fact: Hindsight is perfect. Now that we look back we know that the guy is a killer and we are re-evaluating all his information taking that into account and this gives us a totally different picture of the person as a deranged killer. Before the killings we would have painted an entirely different portrait of him.

The shootings made Cho into a instant celebrity, his works are now plastered all over the web with people commenting on them. His manifesto was broadcast on TV and is now available on the web for download. Guess what? Thats what he wanted… He wanted to be famous. Now the media gave him his wish. All for the all mighty ratings. Not saying that they shouldn’t have reported the crime. They should, with all the details. But publishing his plays was not required, neither should they have broadcast his manifesto. That didn’t achieve anything other than increase their ratings.

People worldwide are condemning the Virginia Tech officials and the cops for not reacting fast enough. Guess what its really easy for us to point out mistakes. We weren’t there. We didn’t have to make the decision based on limited info. The arm chair analysts all over the world are jumping over each other pointing out the failure’s in the system.

Let me tell you a bit of personal experience with terrorism. I was in Newark, NJ on Sep 11 2001. I was in class after just having landed in the US on the 10th. The WTC was attacked, the first tower fell followed by the second tower. I only found out after I got out of class and even then it took me over an hour to figure out what was going on because so many rumors were going around. We finally got to know the truth from watching the news and talking to Public safety officials. The first reaction of everyone was disbelief, followed by horror and panic. Thats the killer. If NJIT had been attacked after WTC it would have had been bad because no one had the entire story inspite of the best efforts of the administration.

In the Vtech shootings a lot of people initially thought that he was playing a practical joke when he walked in with the guns. Think about it, what would you have thought when you saw a friend/acquaintance walk in with something that looks like a gun? Would you have thought he was joking or that he was about to shoot you?

Reading online about the tragedy we find out that he was bullied in school, was depressed, was acoustic. That doesn’t excuse what he did. If he was bullied/picked on in school he should have dealt with it like a million other kids do. These are just excuses. We are trying to justify what he did. Guess what? Nothing can justify what he did. There are a million ways he could have dealt with his issues, he didn’t have to shootup innocent people to make his point.

As far as I am concerned people who chose violence against the helpless as his means of protest deserves the same label: barbarian. They are not the oppressed, anti-hero’s or fighting the establishment. They are barbarians. Period.

But for every Cho we have a hundred people like Liviu Librescu. Liviu died trying to protect his students from the mad man attacking them. He is the hero in this tale not Cho. However I only read about him in one paper ONE!. Everyone else is busy posting the body count, the blood bath photos and talking about Cho ’cause thats what sells the papers. The media should give people like Liviu more coverage. It shows that the world is not all bad and gives people hope.

My condolences to all the people who lost someone at this senseless killing. I hope you find some peace in the coming days.

- Suramya

April 18, 2007

Blog now showing correctly in IE

Filed under: Website Updates — Suramya @ 1:34 PM

Yesterday Surabhi told me that for some reason my blog was not working in IE. Most attempts to visit the site using IE resulted in a 404/Page cannot be displayed error.

The problem was caused by a buggy plugin. Specifically the StatTraq 1.0a beta plugin. As soon as I disabled the plugin the site started showing up correctly in IE.

I really liked that plugin as it gave me some good stats about the blog. I guess I will have to either find an updated version of the plugin or find another plugin that does the same. Do any of you know/use a plugin that will give me the following stats: Number of visitors, pages visited(with popularity), Referees, Search terms used to find the site? If so let me know.

Well this is all for now. Will post more later.

- Suramya

April 16, 2007

Con artists and Social engineering

Filed under: My Life,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 7:47 AM

Yesterday we had a guy come over to our place with a property dealer who said that he was interested in renting the 1st floor of our house (2nd floor for all you Americans). He was very nicely dressed and very confident. We showed him the house and he liked it.

So dad and him sat down with the dealer and talked business. During the talk he mentioned that he had sold his old house for 27 crores (1 followed by 8 zeros) and wanted to build his house so he wanted to rent the place till his house was build. He kept talking about important people and how well he knew them. Overall he seemed like a nice guy so the deal was finalized and he said that he would have someone come over in a day or so to install AC’s and he would move in by the 20th.

Then he left and went to the property dealer’s office. Over there the dealer asked him to make a token payment so that he could start on the paperwork. Now the guy told him that he had left his wallet at home so he didn’t have any cash on him, so the guy asked for his visiting card but he gave the same excuse “No wallet so no card also…”. Then the property dealer told him that they should go to his house to have a cup of coffee and he could make the payment then, and the guy agreed. So they took the dealer’s car and drove to his place. He had given his address as B-152 (Which is the same as our address, but we put it as coincidence)

When they reached the market near his house he asked the dealer to park the car and got out of the car, then he calmly asked for the dealer’s phone so that “he could call the servant outside” and the dealer gave him the phone… While he was parking the car the dealer remembered that the guy had his own phone so why did he want his cell phone so he looked around for the guy but by that time he had already disappeared. So he asked for directions to B-152 and thats when he found out that he was in D block and B block was far off. The guy had disappeared with a Rs 35,000 phone (~ $750). When he asked around the dealer found that this guy has been conning property dealers for a while and keeps stealing their phones..

Now you have to admire the guts of this guy. He came to the dealer asking to buy a house but settled for renting one till he built his own. Then he came to our house looked at the place and was really confident about the whole thing. It was only when he was about to be exposed he calmly absconded with the phone.

In social engineering its all about confidence. The most successful con artists and social engineers are supremely confident. In most cases if you act like you know what you are doing and have every right to be there no one will bother you. Seen it myself at hotels and office buildings. When I know where I am going and confidently walk towards it I have rarely been asked for an ID its only when you are nervous that you get stopped.

For a very good example of social engineering watch this show called “Supernatural” its about these brothers who hunt supernatural creatures(Monsters). They dont have any legal authority to poke around murders/incidents but every time they pose as cops/doctors/psychiatrists/plumbers/whatever to get the victims relatives/friends to talk to them or to gather intel. They are so confident when posing as someone else that no one realizes that they are fakes.

Most of the times the hackers don’t hack systems by decoding the passwords after an all-nighter session of coding, they get it by sweet talking some gullible person into telling them their password. As always humans are the weakest like in any security chain.

Well that was my encounter with a con artist/thief. Will post more later.

- Suramya

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