Archive for December, 2007

End of an year – 2007

So, another year comes to an end. What’s the fuss about New year’s eve anyway? Why would i celebrate an arbitrary calender event? It’s just another day for me, so has it been over these years. Why this post then? For a retrospection of this eventful year.

There has been many first-time experience this year. First nephew, first trip outta-Bangalore in four years, completing first year at work, first pay-hike, first you-know-what, first successful blog, first year to read 3 or more books cover to cover, something i recently did, first time in 18 years, and many other firsts i’d not wish to disclose. ;-)

First nephew, makes me feel older. Uncle!? Duh, call me Sandeep. What, you’re just a twenty-something years younger to me. :)

First time i asked. Then i waited, waiting, and will be.

After nearly four years my first trip out of Bangalore, trek to Chembra peak in Wayanad. This happened after canceling a much much anticipated plan.

Waiting continued. So close yet so far.

Completing first year at work, and an year-end appraisal. First pay-hike. Reminds me of one of my favorite quote ‘Be careful what you wish for, it might come true.‘ Yes i did wish i get this job.

Waiting continued.

Damn it, my second time. Wish i put in an honest effort the first time, but i did not want it then. After stupendous effort in research, should i or should i not. Should i go for it or not. I can get into the best of the places. The confusion phase.

Then, just when i thought i’d get over. Waiting continues.

The canceling part, and you don’t want to be let down by the one who you never think would. Onset of miserable phase.

Waiting, i couldn’t any longer. My first you-know-what.

Followed by first you-know-what again.

The wait seems forever now. But i still will.

‘The chance of not getting what you want is directly proportional to how badly you want it.‘ Adversity strikes in succession. A miserable phase of life, lost faith.

This Blog, started with a conscious effort. I definitely wanted diversion from my line of thoughts… ‘If i had a hand-gun…

Another outing. Get busy, isn’t that what I and Sanjay keep saying to each other to keep mind away from what you don’t wanna think about? That’s what helped i guess.

First association with a helping house, meeting an inspiring person, and most importantly enjoying what i was doing. Also, first attempt to get out of the virtual world.

My first BarCamp, and OCC meet. Interesting people, different experience in the offering. Boxing day bash at Boss’ house.

They were till shoulders, now you can’t even see if they are there.

Ending this post with hours to go, ‘no plan’ is the ‘plan’ as of now.

May be this is true: Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. – The Dalai Lama

P.S.: Understand whatever you can from the post, try not to ask for more details. :)

Current Music: Jaane kyon from DCH

Current Mood: Bland (I mean i feel nothing :)

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Looking for her lovely sight

Wandering in the unforeseen mayhem

I look for a bright light

Waiting in the surrounding darkness

I look for her lovely sight

­ ­

With dreams of catching a twinkling star

I looked straight into the shining sun

Burning my eyes, I turned down

but still wanna look up at the sun

­ ­

Zestful thoughts illuminate insomniac nights

Ending in marked melancholy

I continue to wait in the surrounding darkness

looking for her lovely sight

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The trouble i went through in getting an upgrade of the optical media drive would probably help a few if they are up to something like that.

I bought a LG Super Multi DVD Rewriter from SP Road, which had a minimum requirement for 256MB of RAM. My system at home had the minimum requirement for the DVD drive. But the drive could not read the disc when inserted, the disc could be heard running in the drive. After a few agonizing moments it would show some ‘I/O error’. This i presumed to be due to RAM constraint.

Then i bought a RAM from SP Road. My older 256MB RAM was at 266MHz on 333MHz FSB of A7N8X-VM Asus motherboard on one slot. The motherboard supports dual channel. I was not sure if a newer RAM at higher speed of 400MHz would run fine along with the older RAM at slower speed. Anyway i bought the faster RAM of 512MB as it was about 42% cheaper than RAM @ 266MHz.

Unfortunately the RAM did not function fine, some hardware problem may be. The BIOS would load fine but as Windows XP loads, it would restart displaying momentarily a blue screen, Windows XP Blue Screen of Death. Then i got it replaced with confidence that RAMs at different speed would run fine, though at the speed of lower of the two RAMs.

As expected, that worked fine. But the DVD drive still did not function fine. I got this error more often: ‘The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error’. Once i even got this message: ‘Only part of a ReadProcessMemory or WriteProcessMemory request was completed.’

I searched extensively to get a fix for this, and i found a direction which helped. The error message is caused from Windows trying to use a transfer mode that your CD/DVD drive cannot recognize.

To resolve this issue, you will need to change the transfer mode in your IDE channel properties. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Start
  2. Right click My Computer
  3. Select Manage from the resulting menu
  4. In the Computer Management window, select Device Manager
  5. In the right pane, click to expand IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers
  6. Identify your CD/DVD drive in the expanded menu and right click the appropriate drive
  7. Select Properties
  8. In the Properties windows, click the Advanced Settings tab
  9. In the Transfer Mode box that represents your CD/DVD drive (typically Device 1), open the drop down menu and select PIO Only
  10. Click OK and exit all windows.

If this does not resolve your issue, then you will need to go back using the above procedure and change the Device 1 in step #9 back to “DMA if available”. Then, change Device 0 to “PIO Only” in the Transfer Mode box.

Device 0: Primary IDE Channel
Device 1: Secondary IDE Channel

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Story of Ram and the Dvd drive

Mammoth effort in getting an upgrade in terms of optical media drive i faced in recent past is going to be evident in this writeup. RAM it is, not the Hindu mythological God Ram.

Ram 256MB was @ 266MHz, a slower guy with a motherboard FSB running at 333MHz. But he was the faster at a relatively lower price two years back. The thorough bread Ram-I was doing well. Then Mr. Some1 decided to upgrade the optical drive with a latest DVD Rewriter, and bought a LG Super Multi DVD Rewriter from a shop on SP Road, Bangalore. Minimum RAM was mentioned as 256MB. Some1 thought it would run fine. Unfortunately he got some device error, and felt he needed more RAM.

As it is the case with the herd, Some1 was busy on weekdays with the not-so-typical work he does. Somehow his weekends in the past month or so were also occupied, which is unusual. The DVD drive lay aside the table, on his book rack which had about a hundred dust clad books from Digital Signal Processing, The Unix Programming Environment, High School English Grammar to unused Barron’s GRE, and a few fictional and non-fictional novels.

Finally he managed to go to that SP Road to buy a RAM. By the way, forgot to describe SP road. This is a very narrow alley with hundreds of computer shops run by the Sobs on either side. They are the most meanspirited and meanest of human species i have ever seen. Those Sobs are unmatched by any disgusting human race ever inhabited the earth in their actions.

Some1 had taken his Ram-I to get something similar. But since that was an older RAM, many shops didn’t have it and the ones that which did have, overpriced it. The newer RAM @ 400MHz was cheaper. So, Some1 enquired couple of his friends and found out that faster RAM would work fine but at slower speed. That particular Sob said it may not work with all motherboards, still Some1 trusted his friends more and bought the higher speed RAM.

Asus A7N8X-VM motherboard

Ram-II @ 400MHz, Some1 plugged that in the evening and tried every combination of using the RAMs. The new Ram didn’t work! Some1 was furious. Found out every detail about Asus A7N8X motherboard of his computer. He was sure of it working unless Ram-II was dead. Sob had given a dead RAM.

After a not-so-pleasant Tuesday at work, Some1 left early from office. He went to SP Road in the chaos of traffic on the chilly evening. There was not a single space for parking. He went around a few lanes, but in vain. Finally he could spot a vacant space and tried to put his vehicle there but a voice from behind yelled at him. This was a cop waiting at the spot for the truck to come over and pick up those vehicles to police station. ‘Damn it’ Some1 thought and went further the alley. The narrow lane was thronged with two-wheelers parked at almost every nuke and corner of it. Some1 was already furious, thought that it wouldn’t take long to exchange the RAM and parked his two-wheeler somewhat in the middle of the road itself. He was confident that the truck can’t get into this lane before clearing all those vehicles parked before his two-wheeler.

He rushed to the shop ‘Sangam Computers’. He didn’t find the Sob he had bought the RAM from, but there were other Sobs. He showed the bill and asked a Sob to get a new and working one. This Sob obliged and sent another Sob to get a new RAM. The younger Sob went out and in a few minutes got a new RAM. Some1 took it and rushed back to his two-wheeler. Glad to find it untouched, he drove through the traffic to reach home.

Later in the evening Some1 plugged in the new RAM, Ram-III @ 400MHz. This worked!! :)

Some1 cursed that Sob and plugged in his DVD drive, and inserted a DVD. Damn this didn’t work!

I/O error. ‘What the %$^$ is it now?’ he thought. Then, Some1 extensively searched to fix this error on a popular search engine, finally he got the solution. Did as required and yay it was working. :)


If you are looking for exact fix click here.

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I dream of Rain


The lyrics of the Desert rose goes like this,

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in vain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand…

Melancholic? Probably yes. Having a dream of gardens in the desert sand makes you so, and starts haunting you when your dreams crash. Resurrection of the dare to dream is killed by the haunting melancholic past. But life still goes on, on hope.

Why am i not at the right place at the right time? I wonder why do things turn out so. Is it me? or is it my luck?

“My luck is screwed!” How many times have two of my pals in college heard me saying this? A hundred thousand times, may be. Why did i say so? Surely i had my reasons, which they couldn’t call unreasonable because it wasn’t!

Is it unreasonable to expect something? I guess not. Blessed is he who expects nothing for he shall never be disappointed. But isn’t that almost impossible for mortals? I, more often than not, am either at the wrong place or at the wrong time.

What’s wrong with me i wonder. Why did i land up here i feel, though this is what i wished for sometime back, and worked for it. The feeling is terrible, may the reality has something really bad in store always. May be not, is it just what i think? But how can i think wrongly about the present, which is happening and i see it as something that i didn’t think of!

The future looks bleak, but so it did earlier and then there were good times. Yup, there were good times. So just cherish about it? Or wonder if those were really good times or it just looks relatively so? I guess relative happiness is all we live in and work for. It’s all fine in that case.

Just a state of mind, I will get better. Time, heal me.

Current mood: Depressed

Current music: Do you feel loved – U2

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It has been little over a month since Google launched OpenSocial APIs. There are many applications running on orkut, but only for those with the sandbox access. I am one such fortunate dude. :)

I’d give the outside world a brief about what to expect once this is open to everyone. Though the applications are not running very well, the basic structure and idea are enough to give you the glimpse. Bug fixing and testing are happening amongst developers with sandbox access. If you are also on facebook then you might not find anything exceptional about it, but for others it sure is something new and exciting. I am not writing about the typical applications one might find on facebook, and so this might be interesting for the ones on facebook as well.

OpenSocial APIs have some problem working with IE, but they just work fine on Firefox, which Google engineers must be working on to get it fixed.

First impressive application i found was to Chat online on Orkut called ‘Orkut Global Chat‘. Lokesh and others at Xlratech Software Solutions have come up with this very impressive application. I see it having the potential to kill gtalk and yahoo messenger. Now that he plans to integrate with other social networking sites, you can chat with your friend in any other network. How cool is this!
There is competition for this as there are many developers coming up with gtalk integration on orkut. Google would be happy with such a development. The contest would be interesting to see, and i hope Xlratech comes up with better UI.

Global Chat on orkut with OpenSocial

There is ‘Adsense for profiles‘ application. With this users can put up advertisements using Google’s Adsense on their profile, and depending on the hits make some money, the usual way Adsense works. Something for users to cheer about, still not sure if Google would appreciate such an application.

There are few other simple game applications, like color junction which is very appealing to me. Also one to ‘tag friends‘ which would brand them with adjectives you want to describe. There is a ‘Bioinformatics‘ application, with which you can have news, jobs and other feeds.’Who has been here‘ gives the date and time of your last 10 profile visitors.

color junction

Then there are few geeky applications like online C/C++ compiler, the screenshot of that can be seen below. There are website feed applications like Google maps, iLike music streaming, live cricket scores from cricinfo.com, few games from games2win.com, and doodle environment by iwiddit.com.
Online C/++ compiler

I saw many Indians coming up with the applications for orkut, a good feeling. There are many Brazilians as well. Though these applications are fun to use, they tend to make the site slower. Obviously not all third party developers are as smart as Google engineers to keep the application running/loading very fast. Orkut had removed the image on their login page to load that faster. Now with these third party applications the site becomes really slow, just like facebook. I hate to see this happen to the simple and beautiful orkut. But others don’t i guess, why would otherwise people throng to facebook?

P.S.: ‘It has been little over a month since Google launched OpenSocial APIs’
I started writing this two weeks back, so this line goes off fine.

UPDATE: Official orkut blog has started showcasing few applications developed, and soon to be part of orkut. Check them out here.

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There are days when most of the things you want to do converge, there are others when i just sit at home and stare at the obscure CRT monitor. This Saturday was one of those days when a million things i had to do converged, and had to set ‘priorities’ even if i hate to do that. Rescheduled some of my work to Sunday, but couldn’t do so for one, may be due to the fact that some have priorities for people rather than tasks.

Hogenakkal falls - The smoking rocks

This was my first trip on such a short notice, deciding just a day before for this place after the earlier plan of Kumara parvatha trek didn’t turn out. Since few of us weren’t game for boarding an unreserved train to Dharampuri at 6:15 am, we booked for a cab on Friday evening.

We headed to Hogenakkal at 7:30 am on Saturday morning. The journey was expected to take about 3-3.5 hours as the distance was about 150km. But the unusually longer stop at the check post on KA-TN border caused half an hour delay, we could reach Hogenakkal only by noon. The toll road charge Rs. 38/- for round trip journey with in 24 hours, this excludes the permit. The route we took was Bangalore -> Hosur -> Krishnagiri -> Dharmapuri -> Hogenakkal. The entrance to Hogenakkal for car was Rs.20/-. Few boatmen offered the trips on the Cauvery on a coracle, to get glimpse of falls and to spend time on the banks at interior places.

The river was beautiful, with few eagles and hawks fishing for a brunch. There were hundreds of coracles around there. We started talking about the trip with a couple of boatmen, and wanted to spend about 4 hours around there. They asked for Rs.300/- per person! Guys accused me for wearing my ray-ban, and Nike attire for the boatmen asking exorbitant sum. But we bargained to Rs.130/- per person. Eight of us were on two coracles.

Boatman on the edge

The falls was breathtaking, roaring water fell into the deep gorge. This was December, i wondered how this place would be during monsoon. We trekked around to get better glimpses of this wonderful waterfalls, clicking photos as we moved. The rocks were sharp, my barefoot couldn’t take it anymore and i wore my shoes again, which i had removed earlier to get better grip on slippery algae borne rocks on the edge of the waterfalls.

We were back on the coracle to get to another part of the river bank, there were few coracles selling almost every kind of snacks and soft drinks (this was just what i could see, may be he was concealing ‘other’ stuff, and sell if asked). There were few kids in their underpants, aged about eight to 10. They were standing on the edge of the rocks facing the gorge as our coracle moved. They offered a show for 5 rupees. Our boatman said the show was to dive into the river from a height of about 15-20 meters! I felt sad, and more so. What if they hit some rock? What if they drown? We moved on as the boatman paddled through.

Reached another bank, there were few locals selling fried fish, may be a local delight. Our car driver was along with us and said ‘Fish is not non-vegetarian’. I wondered what was wrong with this psychotic weird idiot, as he had also wanted to ask those kids to dive into the water earlier, to which i had said ‘No’. I didn’t say anything now. Some of the guys had the local delight.

kids diving at hogenakkal falls

The boatmen also doubled as masseur, and offered massage for a price. Few of us took it. Had to purchase a local herb oil for this, and were sold at the fews shops on the banks. Following this, we stood beneath a falls which was dropping from a height of about 10-12 feet. The force of the fall was tremendous. Sitting below that with my back at it was like someone was firing bullets at my back. Mannil lost his gold ring making this the most expensive trip of his. Spent a considerable time here, and were ready to head back.

We were heading back by 4pm, and one of those kids was still atop the rock. He was giving a discount now, Rs. 2/- for the plunge. Since the crazy driver was in another coracle, he asked the kid to jump. I just watched the dive as we sailed. Soon we were back to the car. Reached Bangalore after a dinner break at Reliance A1, though the place had only Kerala paratha, fried rice and dosa the shop over there had some exotic chocolates including Ferro rocher, drinks, and wafers. Car tyre got punctured on inner ring road, and i took an auto from there, thus ending my trip.

Here are some more pictures:

Parakeet or Parrot?’

Parakeet on a fence

Why won’t you talk to me?’

Boat man on rocks

Fish fry anyone?

Fish Fry.. Want some?

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Chembra Trek

This was my first holiday after nearly four years. Canceling a much anticipated plan, i decided to go to Wayanad, i can’t say if it was worth more than the other plan for reasons not so obvious. Anyway, five of us left on a hired cab on Friday evening from work. This trek was in summer, May 2007.

After a few hours drive we reached Gundlupet. An hour drive from Gundlupet to Sulthan Bathery was mesmerizing. The drive was on the highway through the forest, beside the Muthanga wild life sanctuary. We could spot a couple of wild elephants, and soon we stopped for tea near a check post. We could hear a growl over the thick bamboo trees on either side of the road, may be that of a hungry tiger around. :)

We had reserved a room in Sulthan Bathery, we could not get any room nearer to Chembra estates due to some police conference in Kalpetta. Reached Sulthan Bathery by midnight, checked into a not-so-good room. None of us were impressed. Since we didn’t have to stay there for long, we didn’t mind and just hit the bed. Next day was the trek to the Chembra peak. Left the room by 6 am, and reached the Chembra estate after having breakfast in a local restaurant at 7:30 am. On the way we collected a letter of permission from the forest department to let us trek. The tea estate was vast and beautiful, nothing like i had seen in Ooty or any other place. The drive to the estate from was on very narrow and steep road.

Heart shaped lake

We started the trek by 8 approximately, walking through the estate clicking few snaps. The first stop was suppose to be at a lake after trekking for about 4kms. This was a little taxing, taking few micro breaks we reached the heart shaped lake. A deer carcase was remaining, a tiger’s kill we were told by a local, we had hired. Took a small break, and were on our way to the peak.

The pic on the right shows me reaching first at the lake, and the one below shows the beautiful landscape of the Chembra. The serene atmosphere with a cool breeze in the sun, was an uncanny experience and we being the only group to trek at that time made the trek more enjoyable. An escape from the crowded city.

Chembra Peak trek

We continued on our way, the path was much steeper and the view was breathtaking. Nikes and Woodlands made no difference, the local trekked with ease on chapple, and we struggled. The landscape was amazing, and the cool breeze kept us going. The photos are no match to the experience we had. After about 4 hours since we started we were at the top, only three of us reached this place. Savoring the moments for a couple of minutes, we started the ascent, catching up with the other two. The ascent would take much lesser time, but for one who has fear in walking down steep. :)

We were at the watch tower in a few hours time. The cool wind was blowing hard, the anemometer was rotating in full speed. Resting there for a few minutes, we were back to the car, heading to Pookot lake by 4:30pm. This ended the trek to Chembra peak. Here are a few beautiful images we clicked at Chembra and Pookot lake.

Tea leaves, standing out from the herd

Tea leaves

Water lilly, pretty pink

Water Lily

‘Row boats at Pookot lake, want a ride?

Row Boats

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People and their ways

..differ so much, but still can generalize a few things. Observation, as a mute spectator helps to look at things from a different perspective. I did that on few occasions and have observed a few things about ‘human behavior’.

Three temples in a span of about two hours on Tuesday evenings, almost every week for about three months gave me this unique opportunity. The first and the last temple i visited didn’t have many ‘devotees’. The second one in the order of my visit had quite a lot, with substantial queue for the glimpse of the almighty. Knowing one dude (you’d call him priest) over their helped us avoid those long queues, and the time i saved there would become useful for my observation, sitting out on the stairs, and for realizing that people are so typical.


Flirting comes naturally, subconsciously i guess. Temple is not a forbidden place at all. Conversation usually starts off with talk about Masters in US, and belling the CAT (and rarely about an MBA abroad). This being just starting point of the conversation, they go on to gossip about the people who have left for their MS, and people who are planning to. These are the typical engineering students found in Bangalore. For i sit on the stairs behaving as if i have no interest in what they are up to, they try to be cautious about the single guy around and give a couple of awkward stares, which i promptly ignore with my ears tuned to catch their ‘interesting conversation’. This so reminds me of HNS saying how he would snoop on to students’ conversation after class hours. :)

There would be mid-aged women, presumably daughter-in-laws of some unfortunate lady, who would get all the curse in the world that evening. The talk here doesn’t just conclude there, they go on and on with their woes.

Then there are the newly weds. They appear pretty serious, not wasting their time in anything but their most gorgeous/handsome spouse. The are not of much interest, for obvious reasons.

There are few not-so-newly-weds with a young kid along. They are the most fascinating to watch. For every little thing the kid does, the joy or elation they get is unmatched for anything else in the world. Kid utters something, glee. Oh She can throw something given to her! She can respond! She can smile looking at her mom’s face! Yup, give her a twenty years, she’d be at the very same place flirting with a not-so-cute guy. May be i am being little too mean, but yup that’s how young parents are.

Each one of us are like everyone else, even though we believe we are unique. We don’t realize we are unique like everybody else. So what it takes to realize that? A life time or more. As long as you don’t give a damn, life rocks!



P.S.: One more thing i’d like to add, which i observed elsewhere, some people tend to pick up only those words of a sentence which they could use to their way of thinking. Those are opportunistic losers. Beware of these weasels!

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I just noticed now. Why has Google removed ads on Orkut? What are they up to?

One of my thoughts when ads first appeared on orkut, dated 15th November 2006 on my exclusive community:

My first thoughts on Ads appearing on orkut

I was not very happy to see text ads on orkut.
Why should Google make money from our creativity!?
The community owners and members should get a share of the profit Google will be making by these Ads..

Seeing the number of visitors to my profile everyday, i got a great idea!
wouldn’t it be nice to place a few text ad links on my profile and make a few bucks from it??

Hey Orkut are u listening??

As I mentioned, i was not happy. Did Google heed to my thought? :P

When did they actually remove those ads? I didn’t notice. What is Google planning to do next? With OpenSocial up its sleeve Google is not going to miss the revenues from Ads on these social networking sites. Are they coming up with a strategy to share profits with the third party application developers? Will Google ads going to appear on all OpenSocial compatible sites like MySpace, and others?

If that ever happens, Google would virtually become the undisputed king of social networking sites, with a dominant control over the revenues these ads would generate with OpenSocial. Third party developers would still be the losers as i mentioned in this post, and so would be the community builders who essentially are these site users, as i mentioned in my community post.

Will have to wait and watch the next step of Google.


UPDATE, 11:44 PM: Seems like Google has removed ads after complaints from Brazilian nonprofit group, SafeNet alleged that Orkut contained illegal content on some users pages. Some had views that social networking was not generating much revenues, which i doubt, but lack of revenue isn’t the direct cause of the ads being pulled.

Google said advertising appeared on only 1% of Orkut pages and represented a “test” of online marketing on the social-networking site, which is especially popular in Brazil and India. WSJ reports so.

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