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December 12, 2014

My new toy: the Moto 360 smart watch

So I have a new toy that I am super excited about and It is a birthday gift from me to myself. :) I have been wanting to get a smartwatch since last year when the Samsung gear came out but when I saw the gear I didn’t like the way it looked so ended up not buying it. Now that I have bought the Moto 360, I am glad I didn’t buy the gear because it beats the Gear hands down, no questions asked. I have been using it for 3 days now and I love it.


The Moto 360 with the default Face

The initial setup of the watch was easy, I just had to download an app on my phone and follow the prompts, took me about 2 mins (excluding the time to download the app) to complete the pairing and setup. Once the app was installed the watch downloaded the latest firmware and upgraded automatically after I charged the battery which was surprisingly very fast. Once the upgrade completed it was connected to my S5 and has been working like a charm.

The default apps on the 360 are the Fitness apps, ability to receive any notifications on the watch and control the music app and the Google camera app from the watch. It has built in voice recognition which works fantastically great and is integrated with Google Now. Tonight we tried it out in a restaurant where we had gone out for a team outing and it had no trouble with the voice recognition even with the background noise. In addition to the default apps so far I have also installed a flashlight app, a dictation app and another camera app that lets me use the watch as a viewfinder for the camera on my phone. I keep finding cool new apps for the watch every day so will probably be installing a lot more stuff on it in the near future.

As I said earlier Voice recognition works for most of the things I would want to do on the watch, like use to to initiate a call or dictate a reply to an SMS, start an app etc. For the rest the touch screen works fine. Took me a bit of time to figure out how to run the new apps I installed because that isn’t really intuitive initially (or maybe I was just sleep deprived) but once I figured that out I was good to go. I think it would have made sense for them to put this in the help section.

The watch is not bulky at all and is lighter than my other watch. Lots of folks have complained about its size online but I didn’t find that to be an issue. However the battery life could have been better. In my daily use I am down to about 35% charge by the time I am ready to sleep after starting with a full charge in the morning. The charger looks nice and the charging is fast, however since the watch has a custom charger it means that I have to make sure that I carry it with me when I am traveling because none of my other chargers work with it. Sure, I can buy another charger for the office but it’s a pain.

The other issue that I noticed with it is that the heart rate sensor is crap. Every single time I have tried to check my heart rate (using both fit and the Moto software) it has failed with a sensor time out message, although Vinit did manage to get it to work once so I know the sensor works.

For the most part I have been using the watch to read my SMS/Whatsapp/Email messages without having to pull out my phone and monitoring my step count. Apparently I walk around a lot more than I thought which is good. :) Also the ability to decline calls with a message from the watch is very handy when your phone is at your desk and you are at another desk working on something or in a meeting.

I am planning on installing the Analog keyboard for Android that I blogged about earlier but that will be over the weekend when I have some breathing room to experiment. I will share my findings and experiences going forward so if you are interested do keep an eye on the blog for new posts.

Well, this is all for now. It’s time for me to crash for the night. Will post more later.

– Suramya

November 21, 2014

Uber pricing: Be careful when requesting a car

Filed under: My Life,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 6:23 PM

In the past few weeks Uber has been in the news a couple of times, most recently after one of their VP’s suggested hiring a million dollar team to dig up dirt on hostile journalists and their families but that is a whole different story and not something this post is about. Today I am going to talk about how the price for Uber cabs fluctuates and why you should check the cost before clicking on the Book button. BTW, this is based on an off the fly method of data collection and for Uber in India (Bangalore to be specific). Other places might have a different experience.

First, lets start with a bit of background. I had gone out with my team for an office outing and while we were figuring out the transportation back to the office I looked at the Uber costing to see if it made sense to just get uber instead of waiting for other options. (We didn’t take uber that day but that is a different story). The next day at work I was talking to a team member and I mentioned that the cost for uber would have been Rs 200 min, and about Rs 18/km after that which is quite of for that time at night. She was skeptical so I opened the app to show her the prices and imagine my surprise that the numbers were quite different: Min Rs 250 with Rs 30/km. This started me thinking, and I was curious so I kept a log of the costing for both UberX and Uber Black for the next few days at various times in the day.Basically whenever I remembered to look, which is why this is not a scientific study.

The numbers are as follows:

Date/Time Service Minimum Cost Cost per KM
12th Nov 11:20pm Uberx 125 Min 15/km
12th Nov 11:20pm UberBlack 200 Min 18/km
13th Nov 12:32pm Uberx 250 Min 30/km
13th Nov 12:32pm UberBlack 200 Min 18/km
13th Nov 7:20pm Uberx 250 Min 30/km
13th Nov 7:20pm UberBlack 400 Min 36/km
14th Nov 5:00pm Uberx 162.5 Min 19.5/km
14th Nov 5:00pm UberBlack 240 Min 21.6/km
15th Nov 1:31am Uberx 125 Min 15/km
15th Nov 1:31am UberBlack 200 Min 18/km
19th Nov 7:20pm Uberx 250 Min 30/km
19th Nov 7:20pm UberBlack 200 Min 18/km

so as per the numbers above the best time to take uber would be around 11:30pm. Worst time is early evening around 7:30pm.

So if you take an uber cab late night one day and pay X then take it again the next day morning to go back to the same place you will actually end up paying quite a lot more than what you were expecting based on the previous fare. Which is why you should check the pricing before you click the book, else you might be in for a rude surprise.

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

– Suramya

November 15, 2014

Watched Interstellar today

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 1:52 AM

Just got back home from watching Interstellar. If you haven’t seen the movie go watch it. It is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. A classic like 2001: A Space Odyssey. The science behind most of the movie is amazing. A small part of the logic didn’t make sense and felt contrived but overall the movie plot worked out beautifully.

– Suramya

September 28, 2014

Modi’s speech at madison square garden.

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 11:05 PM

Wow! Just finished watching  modi’s speech… it was amazing! The guy is a great orator.

It is late and i have to get up in 4 hrs to drive ~500 kms back to bangalore so will post more thoughts on this later.

– Suramya

September 16, 2014

ComicCon Bangalore 2014

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 2:20 AM

Finally attended ComicCon Bangalore after missing it consistently for 2 years in a row, just by the virtue of being in the wrong city whenever it was happening. It was great fun, though I was expecting a bit more folks to be cosplaying. However that doesn’t mean that the folks who were Cosplaying didn’t spent time, effort and money in creating their costumes. There were a bunch of folks as Superman, Spider-man, Saw one guy dressed as the Hulk and even found a minion.

One of the highlights of the show was that I got to meet Peter Kuper author of Spy Vs Spy which is a comic I have been reading for a lot of years now. I even got him to draw a panel for me in my copy of Spy Vs Spy (see below). Another author we met was Jason Quinn who wrote “The Kaurava Empire”. We bought the first volume of the series just as it was released to the public. The series is a great read and I would highly recommend it to folks.

Over all the Con was good fun, I did notice a few things though that I found interesting:

  • There were a lot more stalls selling T-Shirts than Comics/Books. I hope in the next Con more publishers show up and the ratio is more balanced.
  • A lot more publishers are starting to write about Indian Mythology and stories based on it. I saw books on all sorts of mythological figures and this is awesome. Finally folks are starting to write about Indian figures instead of Greek/American/Scandinavian. I hope this trend continues.
  • Cosplay is picking up in India.

Finally to end the post, here are some pics from the event:


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Bangalore ComicCon 2014

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Peter Kuper drawing a panel just for me :)

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Me with Peter Kuper

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Spider-Man Hitches a ride

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Minion’s!

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

– Suramya

April 19, 2014

Some stats & numbers from my friends on Facebook

Filed under: My Life,My Thoughts,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 1:54 AM

A few days ago I was trying to get a download of all the photos/events I was a part of from Facebook just so that I have a local copy of them. After looking around a bit I got the bright idea of using the Facebook Commandline interface that I was already using to sync the blog to the site. Instead of running it for only photos I was tagged in, I thought it would be easier if I ran it for all photos my friends had uploaded and then remove the ones where I am not there and events I wasn’t part of. I kicked it off at night before I went to sleep expecting it to have completed by the time I got up. The download ran for almost 36 hours and downloaded over 58,000 photos.

Keep in mind that these are all photos that I have access to on Facebook i.e. I can view the pic by clicking on the photogallery of the person that uploaded the photo. There might be more pics posted by these folks that I don’t have access to which are not accounted in this total.

The time it took to download it all wasn’t the most surprising part, that was for the number of photographs I downloaded. I have ~250 friends on Facebook and between all of them they have uploaded over 58k photos. Yes you read that correctly over 58,000 photos totaling about 4GB in size. Looking at the number of photos I just deleted all of them as I don’t have the time or energy to go through all of them searching for photos of me. I will at a later time kick off another download which will be restricted to only photos where I am tagged.

Once I got these numbers I got curious to see what other numbers I could get while looking at my friend circle. So I tried getting the number of wall posts that were made by friends. For some reason I only got results for 206 friends when I ran this query, which could be because of many reasons, most likely of which would be that these folks have blocked the access for the program to look that their post count, or they haven’t made any posts (which is highly unlikely). These 206 friends made a total of 89182 posts to Facebook with the highest no of posts being 3047 and the lowest being 4 with an average of 432.9. My post count is 207 in case you are wondering. 164 friends publicly shared their birthdays on FB and 187 of them posted their current location. (Not sure how accurate that is, but I did get GPS coordinates with the results…)

I am sure there is a lot more data I can pull out from FB, if I felt like it. But this is about as far as my desire to collect this data goes. I knew people posted a lot on FB but these numbers are way over what I thought the count would be…

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

– Suramya

March 25, 2014

Was a Keynote speaker at IndiaCom 2014: IEEE International Conference on Computing For Sustainable Global Development

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 1:25 AM

Early this month (Mar 7th) I was asked to give the keynote talk at INDIACom: 2014 IEEE International Conference on “Computing For Sustainable Global Development”. I gave my talk on Cloud Computing since it has been in the news a lot recently and there is a lot of interest in it from the general public. It was a pretty amazing experience and I had a lot of fun at the conference as I got to meet some pretty interesting folks with whom I discussed various things/technologies.

As the conference was in Delhi I had to fly there from Bangalore for the weekend and since I also wanted to avoid taking too many days off from work we decided to take a late flight to Delhi on Thursday night. Unfortunately though, our flight got delayed by an hour so instead of landing at 11:30am as expected we got there at 12:30am and by the time we got home it was almost 1:30am. Once home I did a bit more prep for the talk and crashed. Then I had to wake up early the next day to get ready so I could be there on time but thanks to traffic we got delayed and got there just about in time for the talk.

The funny part was that I was introduced as ‘Prof’ Suramya Tomar initially but thankfully they corrected it later. The talk went well and most of the questions I got during the talk were about how private the cloud is and how safe the data that is stored on the cloud is compared to traditional storage.

After the talk I sat through a few of the technical papers that were being presented and they were all pretty interesting. I did get a physical copy of the conference proceedings (a book about 1 1/2 inches thick) with all the papers that were presented that I am planning to read one of these days when I get some time.

One of the interesting things I noticed during the sessions was that about 60-70% of all the papers were authored/co-authored by women which is something that was very surprising to me as normally during such conferences the ratio is the other way round.

I am planning on transcribing my talk (I have my notes and the outline I created, plus a video of the talk) and posting it on the site sometime later this month/early next month. I will also expand on the talk with a few articles I am planning to write so keep an eye out for new items on the site (will announce it on the blog when I post stuff) in the near future.

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

– Suramya

April 19, 2013

Random Thoughts

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 1:50 AM

Just some random thoughts for todays post. Yesterday (well technically the day before) I lived through the third earthquake of my life. It was an interesting experience, I initially thought someone was shaking my bed (or rather kicking it) then saw the ceiling fan shaking and realized it was either an earthquake or a rally fat person jumping up and down on the roof.

Spent about 30 mins yesterday trying to figure out why my latest blog post didn’t show up on Facebook and then realized that this was because the FB sync script runs on my home computer and the desktop was shutdown since I was traveling. Felt kind of silly when I realized that.

Found some old sourcecode that I have been looking for a while on a CD that I had burnt in 2001, unfortunately I still seem to be missing one header file, but there are signs that we might have removed the header file altogether from the software, but the only way I can be sure is to compile all the separate files and see if the final product works. That requires a bit more effort and brainpower than I have willing to spend at this time. Maybe over one of these weekend I will try this, all I need is a lot of time and loud music to help me concentrate.

Noise canceling headsets are awesome and worth every penny spent. Just need to be aware that when I have them on I don’t hear anything including my phone ringing. So need to make sure I have the phone on the desk in front of me when I am using the headsets so I can see when a call comes in. Otherwise I seem to miss a lot of calls.

Well this is all for now. Have lots more random thoughts but need to get some sleep, or tomorrow will be bad.

– Suramya

November 24, 2012

My Trip to Lakshadweep

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 11:26 PM

Early this month we (Me, Vinit, Surabhi, Vir, Mom and Dad) went for a week long trip to Lakshadweep. It was a much required and anticipated trip (I have been wanting to go since 2010) especially after the crazy week I had dealing with Hurricane Sandy. We left on Thursday night by train from Bangalore to Cochi and from there we took a flight to Agati island. There were ~15 passengers in the flight, including the 6 of us and the 2 airhostesses. The runway on Agati is a narrow strip of land sticking out into the ocean and when landing you can see water on both sides of the runway. Below is a shot of the island I took during our approach; the entire island is about 7 kms long and 1.5 kms wide, and we were the only tourists on the island…

Arial Shot of Agati Island
Arial Shot of Agati Island

We were there for 7 days and spent all the time on the beach, including having our lunch delivered to the beach.


The beach where we spent most of our time

Well, except for the time we spent in the water scuba diving. Both me and Vinit got our diving certificates (I actually had to study for tests) but it was worth it. We did 4 openwater dives and 5 confined water dives in 7 days plus did a lot of snorkeling as well. During the dives we saw 2 sharks (one White tip and another whose name I can’t remember), couple of dolphins, a sea turtle (while diving, lost count of ones we saw from the boat and from the beach), crabs, tuna fishes, star fish, crabs, lobsters etc etc.

We did take a ton of photos (~1500) and I have posted a selection of the pics here. I was going to post them here as well but then decided to be lazy and just provide a link to the album here. Check it out.

I have been meaning to post this for a while now but life got busy. Ah well… It was an awesome trip and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a great vacation spot.

– Suramya

October 22, 2012

Did something new. Had to use a Bookmark for my novel.

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 11:55 PM

As some of you know I read a lot, read quite fast and hate leaving books in the middle; which is why I normally finish a novel in one sitting and have rarely ever used a book mark for a novel. Most of the bookmarks I get with books usually end up being misplaced or stuck inside a book, never to be used. But not this time… Things have been a bit hectic for the past few weeks and because of that I actually got to use a bookmark for the purpose its supposed to and it felt weird. For the past few weeks I have been trying to finish a book (Finally finished it yesterday BTW) and by the time I got time to start reading it would be late at night and I would be so exhausted that could barely read a chapter before crashing for the night.

It took almost a two weeks to finish a book which would normally take me about 2-3 hours. Makes me miss the times when I used to get the time to read multiple books a day. :( Ah well, hopefully I will get a bit more free time to read in the future.

Now I think I need to go crash as I have an early morning tomorrow.

– Suramya

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