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June 26, 2010

An interesting start to the weekend: Dinner at UB City interrupted by fire

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 1:06 PM

So yesterday was an interesting start of the weekend for us. Me, Vinit, Surabhi, Anil and Manisha walked to UB City to get dinner at Tuscano’s (I think that’s how you spell it) with Dev and Chandani. While we were waiting to be seated I suddenly smelled smoke. At first I thought that someone was doing a barbecue and had burned the food a bit but then we could see the smoke coming out of the vent in the building.

Initially there was only a little amount of smoke but later it got quite heavy. So we waited for a few mins to see what would happen and then left for another restaurant nearby. I did take pics but they didn’t come out well. All you can see is the building and a blur.

The funny part is how the fire was portayed in the media. The Times Of India headline reads “Fire at UB City scares diners” and here’s a blurb from the article:

BANGALORE: Panic ripped through the food court at UB City on Friday evening when the kitchen smoke started billowing across the the restaurant area. It was 9.50 pm. Customers having dinner mistook it for a fire and there was chaos at the venue.

This is complete BS. I was there. There was no panic or chaos atleast till the time we left which was about 10-15 mins after the fire started. People were still at their tables calmly finishing their dinners and there were some who were still waiting to be seated. Lots of people were taking photos (including me) and calling friends/family telling them about it. Only when they were told that the restaurant(s) were closed they started leaving.

Which in a way is quite bad. There should have been a fire alarm or something that went off and the security team from UB City should have evacuated the tower/food court. Luckily it seems like there was no major damage and no one was hurt.

Tonight going out with another group of friends and am hoping there will be no such excitement over there as well. :)

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

– Suramya

June 20, 2010

Moved to Bangalore and joined a new company

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 4:54 PM

Hey Everyone,

The past week has been quite hectic for me so didn’t get a chance to post anything before this. I have now officially moved to Bangalore last week (the 12th) and have joined Goldman Sachs in the Tech department. For now I am staying with Surabhi & Vinit but will be getting an apartment sometime soon (Before they are tempted to kick me out :p )

Things are going great and so far I like Bangalore and my job a lot. For obvious reasons I won’t be talking/posting about my work here (Not that I posted work related stuff earlier but still…) The only thing I have issues with is not having my desktop here. That desktop has been customized with all my settings and preferences and using a different system is really annoying. At present I am borrowing Surabhi’s old laptop and have installed a version of Ubuntu on it.

I want to install Debian Testing on it, but since I don’t want to burn a CD and I didn’t bring my CD case with me to Bangalore (Weight considerations) the process has been an interesting experience. For some reason even though the bios lists USB as one of the boot options the laptop refuses to boot from my thumb drive. When I managed to get the system to boot into the installer then the stupid installer wouldn’t read the install files from the hard drive and insists on searching for a CD. I know I can fix it and get it installed but for now I have just installed the Backtrack Live CD (Based on Ubuntu) to the disk. This way I have a system that I can start customizing and that doesn’t get reset everytime I reboot the system, which is what would happen when I was using the laptop with the live CD.

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

– Suramya

June 11, 2010

The first foldable dual screen ebook reader/netbook is out

Filed under: Computer Hardware,Linux/Unix Related — Suramya @ 2:07 AM

If I would ever get a ebook reader I think I will go for this one or something similar.

This is an Android device which has a 9.7″ E-paper Display and a 10.1″ LCD Touchscreen Display. So you can have a book open on one side and surf the web on the other side. Or have a programming manual open on one side and code on the other.

The enTourage eDGe™ Specifications are as follows:

* Dimensions: 8.25″ x 10.75″ by 1.0″ (closed)
* Weight: approx. 3 lbs.
* Internal Memory: 4 GB (3 GB for user)
* E-reader File Formats: ePub, PDF
* LCD Touchscreen Display Size: 1024 x 600 (10.1″)
* E-paper Display Size: 9.7″ e-Ink®(1200 x 825), 8 shades of gray
* E-paper Input: Wacom® Penabled®
* Operating System: Linux with Google® Android®
* Screen Rotation: 90 and 180 degrees
* Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth capability
* Battery Life: 16+ hours utilizing the e-reader screen / up to 6 hours running the LCD screen
* Battery Type: Lithium-ion polymer
* External Memory: SD card slot, 2 USB ports
* Audio and Microphone Jack: 3.5 mm each. Includes internal microphone and speakers.
* Audio playback: MP3, WAV, 3GPP, MP4, AAC, OGG, M4A
* Video playback: 3GP, MP4, Adobe Flash Lite (H.264)
* Input: Stylus input on e-paper and touchscreen. Virtual keyboard. USB keyboard (optional)

The cost is $499.

– Suramya

Source: Handle With Linux.

June 6, 2010

Had to Back up and Hard reset my Nokia N95

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 8:05 PM

For some reason my N95 started acting really strangely last week, after I copied some ebooks to the phone it became really really slow. On an average it started taking upto 8 seconds to perform any operation on the phone. So if I got an SMS and wanted to read it it would take about 8 – 16 seconds for the SMS to open. If I restarted the phone it would work ok for about 30 seconds or so and then become really slow again. Plus the battery life also got quite bad. I was getting about 2-3 hours on a full charge without any use, plus the phone was heating up a lot.

Since the last thing I did on the phone was copy some text/html files to it I tried deleting them and other files from the phone but that didn’t fix anything. So I decided to do a hard reset on the phone.

But before I could do that I had to backup the data on the phone. The files on the internal file system and the Mass storage device were quite easy to backup. The problem was backing up the Contact list and the SMS’s. I did a little research and found that the Contact list can be backed up to the Mass Storage by following these steps:

1. Open Contacts
2. Options -> Mark/Unmark -> Mark All

That will mark all the contacts in your address book. Once you do that Go to

3. Options -> Copy -> To Mass Memory.

This creates a directory called Contacts on the Mass Memory under the folder Others and stores all the contacts as .vcf files. Which you can copy to your computer using the USB cable. To restore all you have to do is open Contacts and then Options -> Copy -> From Mass Memory.

Backing up the SMS’s was a bit more involved. To do that you need to have Python for the Nokia phones installed. I used a Python script to loop through my Inbox and write the contents of the SMS into a text file that I then backed up.

The code incase you need it is listed below:

from time import ctime
 
import codecs
import inbox, appuifw
 
box = inbox.Inbox()
msg = box.sms_messages()
 
f = codecs.open('E:/Others/listSMS.txt', 'w', 'utf8') # open file in UTF8
for i in msg:
	f.write(box.address(i))
	f.write('\n')
	f.write(ctime(box.time(i))) # convert seconds in a string
	f.write('\n')
	f.write(box.content(i))
	f.write('\n----------')
f.close()
 
appuifw.note(u'All SMS are backed up!', "info")
 
f = codecs.open('E:/Others/listSMS.txt', 'r', 'utf8')
print f.read()
f.close()

Once I backed up all the data, I did a hard reset on the phone. The Built in function to Restore Factory defaults didn’t seem to accomplish anything so I had to resort to a search on Google again.

Use the following codes to do a Hard Reset on a Nokia N95 8GB. (Warning: This removes all data from the phone except the data stored on the Mass Memory)

Reset code: *#7370# or *#7780#

The page I got this information from listed *#7780# as the hard reset code but it didn’t do anything on my phone while *#7370# did the job.

Once I reset the device it started functioning properly again which was good. So I had to restore all the applications on it. About 1/2 way through I installed ‘FlipSilent-RDA-v2.00′ which allows you to silence your phone by flipping it. As soon as I tried installing it the phone went nuts again. Which sucks because I really love this app :( I think the version I downloaded was infected. I don’t have the original .sis file that I used to install it the first time and now I really don’t feel like experimenting again by installing various versions to my phone to get a working version. I guess I could try contacting the author directly. Lets see.

But still, I have a working phone once again and all is well.

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

– Suramya

June 4, 2010

My Trip to Gangotri and Gaumukh

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 11:35 PM

I think its about time I blogged about my trip because certain people have been bugging me about it. It took so long because I brought back an unwanted guest with me from the trip – Some sort of stomach virus.

We (Me, Dad and Mom) left for Gangotri on the 29th at 6 am and drove 526 km to Gangotri. The last 300 something kilometers were in the hills so it took us a little over 14 hours to make the journey. We got there a little after 8pm and it was a bit chilly over there so we quickly walked to the guest house (I don’t really remember the name but it was a facility run by the Gadhwal Government). While talking to the manager at the place we found out that since last year a restriction has been put on travel to Gaumukh and now only 150 people per day are allowed to make the trip. Another wrinkle was that in addition to the 150 people limit the forest department has also set the limit on the no of horses allowed up to the glacier to 15.

Since we didn’t have permission we had to wait for the Forest department to open at 8am the next day before we could leave for the glacier. If that hadn’t been the case we would have left at around 6am. We spent that extra two hours visiting the famous temple and having breakfast.

Thankfully we got the permission to visit Gaumukh quite easily but unfortunately by that time the permitted no of horses had already left. So we had to convince the person incharge to allow 3 extra horses to make the trip (No there was no bribe involved. Just told them about our time constraint etc). Initially it was planned that mom and dad would take horses but I would walk but since its quite boring to walk alone and I had no intention of walking 14 kms alone I also got to ride up on a horse.

The journey to the actual Gaumukh is a total of 18 kms but horses are only allowed till the first 14 kms and the last 4 kilometers have to be covered on foot.

It took us about 5 hours to make the 14 km journey by horse and the view was amazing for most of the way. Towards the end though the greenery (trees) was replaced by shrubs and then plain rocks and dirt because we were over the snowline. By the time we got to Bhojwassa it was about 2 pm and my backside was no longer on speaking terms with me. We stopped over there for the night. Initially we had thought that we would make the remaining 4km trek to Gaumukh the same day but then decided to wait for the next day to permit our bodies to acclimatize to the high altitude. (This was at 3792 mts elevation)

Unfortunately mom got a mild case of Acute mountain sickness so we decided that she wouldn’t make the last 4 km walk. So it was just dad and me at 5:30 am the next day when we left for the Glacier (which is at 4463 mtrs elevation) . The trek wasn’t that bad. Infact the hardest part was the first 500 mtrs because it was a pretty steep climb. After that the climbs and descents were quite manageable. It took us 1 1/2 hours to make it to the official termination of the path which is about 500 mtrs from the mouth of the glacier. Since everyone else was continuing the trek to get to the actual mouth of the glacier we also did the same and ended up climbing pretty much to the mouth of the glacier. This last 500 mtrs took us another 1/2 hour since there was no track anymore and we had to climb over boulders and then slide down to get to the glacier.

At this point the temperature was way below freezing and the wind chill made things even more fun. It was so cold that in the time it took me to take 3 photos my fingers were numb enough that I couldn’t make changes to my camera settings anymore. But it was worth it. Because of the cold we only stayed there for about 10-15 mins before heading back. By this time the sun had come out so it wasn’t that cold anymore. In fact by the time we reached base camp I was sweating enough to remove my sweater.

After we got back we rested for about 2 hours and had breakfast and then hired horses to take us back. The ride back was more endured than enjoyed because by that time pretty much most of my body parts had gone on strike. If you think that you don’t get tired when riding a horse I suggest you go ride one for 4-5 hours and then come back and talk to me.

The trail between Gangotri and Bhojwassa is quite steep and there were a lot of places where my body was at an angle of almost 45 degrees from perpendicular to keep my balance on the horse. (You are supposed to lean back if your horse is descending a slope to allow it to maintain its balance).

Once we got back to Gangotri we picked up our luggage from the locker and started driving back towards Uttarkashi. It took us a bit over 5 hours to get there and we all crashed quite quickly once we got to the hotel. The next day we left the hotel at 7:30 am and drove back to Delhi with a small detour to visit my cousin on the way.

I did take a lot of pictures and I will be posting some of them on Facebook (I am still considering the changes to the photogallery over here) once I publish this post.

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

Edit: Posted the pics Here

– Suramya

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