My First Trip …

After a long time I am blogging, well I was little stuck with the life truck. Trying to prove that I can do things I used to do in college. I finally became a Sun Certified Programmer (SCJP 6.0), finished some mandatory certifications for this cycle of my company. While this blog will have some tech stuff, it will surely have my (mis)adventures with life. This time I traveled to Milwaukee, out of my country for the first time on an assignment. Well this trip wasn’t confirmed till last Thursday, however it finally came thru. My family was happy for me, but I didn’t have the excitement I had a year back to travel.  The trip was pleasant one.. I boarded three planes before landing in Milwaukee (Blore–London–Chicago–Milwaukee).

The place is calm and people are nice. Milwaukee was one of the early cities where Europeans (predominantly Germans) settled. It’s a beautiful city on the lake of Michigan (you can see as far as you can, such a big lake or sea!!). The city is full of old European buildings (will put the pics in future posts).  Let me get settled and check new places and people :).

Finally, Starting on wordpress….

Creating a chill-out place for me on Web. I will be dumping all my thoughts, works and pass time stuff on this blog. I am moving from blogspot to wordpress. So hoping  to blog daily.

For now a traditional “Hello World”!!

Another Drive in adda!!!

Yesterday, Mr.Anbumani Ramdoss had the last laugh by introducing a ban on smoking at public places, Deep’s sorry about that!!! ;). Yesterday, Quater, Shilpa, Deepak and myself decided to go out for bowling (Ravi missing this time!!). Quater, agreed to get his car and asked me to come over to Deep’s place (it’s a norm to pick me from Deep’s place and as usual I was late this time too). We started off and decided to first fill our stomach. We zeroed in on Pure and Natural, a salad bar opposite to National college J’nagar (we are very health conscious!! ;)).

After having a simple but spicy lunch we were little undecided on going for bowling, at least Quarter’s face said it all ;). So he asked what next? Finally after much deliberations we decided to go to Eagleton, a golf resort on Mysore road. We drove on kanakpura road and joined the NICE road, which is a beauty of a road. Quater just enjoyed pushing his car to constantly touch 150 mark on the speedometer. Very soon we reached Mysore road junction and drove towards Bidadi, again there was a change in plan. I guess Quater was in a mood to drive more. So we decided to go to channapatna Coffee Day, a hangout which is fast becoming famous. After crossing Ramanagara, I saw a Karnataka Tourism signboard with kanva reservoir details. Unanimously we all agreed to visit this place. Just before reaching channapatna coffee day, there is a small village with Anjaneya Temple. We need to take right here and head 8kms straight to reach this place. Signboards are there for help. Since we were little tired, we decided to have some coffee first and then go to that place. The coffee day is much ahead from the temple, so we proceeded further but, found a new Barista opened out there. We just parked ourselves and had some smoothies and frappés. After this we headed to the Kanva reservoir, the 8km drive is a bumpy ride. Quater was driving very slowly and we were also not complaining but enjoying the drive. The village kids playing Tops[Kannada := Bhuguri], running around trees etc. was a treat to watch. We reached the reservoir which was quite and peaceful. It was a big reservoir with a radius of 5kms approx, but most of the water was drained out because there was some construction going on. It was calm and picturesque. We just went down and sat on the rocks watching the lake, cranes, eagles, snakes (we spotted 2 water snakes). Deepak was repenting because he forgot to get his Nikon camera, while Shilpa clicked some pics on her mobile phone camera. As the evening set in we decided it was time to head back to Bangalore. We spent some real good time and decided we will make this our adda and visit often!! 😉




Dhanushkodi – A ghost town

Last forth night we made a short trip to a place called Dhanushkodi.. This place is the southern most tip of India situated 15km from Rameshwaram. Myth has it that Rama broke the sethu (which he had constructed to cross over to Sri Lanka) at the request of Vibeeshana with one end of his bow and hence it is called Dhanuskodi. We had a two day plan, first to visit Madurai and then head to Rameshwaram for a night stay, visit Dhanskodi and start off to Thekadi and then back to Bangalore.We first reached Madurai in the morning and visited the grand Meenakshi Temple by evening and then headed towards Rameshwaram.Though we couldn’t make it to Rameshwaraw, we reached Ramanathpuram where we had our dinner and made a night halt in a good lodge. In the morning we started off and reached Rameshwaram and visited the temple and soon after that we headed to Dhanuskodi.

Dhanshkodi was a small town which was built by British to transfer the humans and the raw materials from India to Srilanka and vice versa. The town had good connectivity with rail and road. It had hospital, church, post office, railway station, temples etc. In the year 1964 a huge storm wave of 20ft came crashing on the town and destroyed the whole town, trains and the railway bridge all at the dead of the night. The Tamilnadu Government declared the town as a Ghost town and unfit for living. Currently only a small group of fisher folk reside there. The place is becoming a tourist spot and the old ruins of town are the only things that are left now.

Our vehicle was allowed only till a certain distance, after which we need to hire a small truck which is generally used by fishermen to bring their catch to the shore everyday. These mini Mahindra trucks are tweaked to run on the sand with maximum power and torque. we reached the tip of the island from where West of Jaffna is just 18 miles (by sea). After spending some time at this place we started a backward hike to the town, we were accompained by a guide (not really!! a man who had lot of talent and could have catapulted many big actors had he come to Kollywood). He explained the story of the town, different buildings and its ruins. As he talked we could imagine what a nice place the town would have been with shores on each side kissing the town and how people lived there and carried out there daily activities. My friends had some great cameras with which they experimented and tried their skill to get every shot of the town. After which we returned back the place where we had parked our vehicle. We then started our journey back. On the way we spent a quite evening on a beach where we were the only humans (and rest were crabs..) before we headed off to Ramanathpuram for dinner. This is a district headquaters which provided us food and lodging for two days.

After dinner we made some quick decisions on what next. This trip hadn’t gone as per our plan. Intially when we started we had some bad time, first with TN Police for getting our fuels in the van. And then a puncture to our vehicle where in the jack slipped while changing the tyre. We had to manually lift it and place it on some wooden blocks before the driver could fit the tyre. The driver was another nammuna.. he almost killed us while returning. He dosed off while driving!! One of my friend who was awake requested him to stop driving and take a nap. Rightly, he stopped and took a long nap!!. We reached Bangalore the next morning after which I tried not to eat Idly, vada and dosa for another week. Both the days we had only these!!! 😉

Pics:
http://picasaweb.google.com/vravi.iyer/Dhanushkodi?authkey=S9RUXfNryJE#

Firefox Browser – surf your way

Firefox browser – what started as a mere curiosity to try out a new browser ended up being a must have application for me on any computer. Firefox has the second most usage share of web browsers after IE, IE may have become more famous because its the default browser that comes in with Windows Operating System which has dominated the desktop OS world for a long time. And the ingnorance of people to use anything beyond IE.

Firefox which has its origin from the Mozilla family (Mozilla itself has its lineage to Netscape family, which sponsored the Mozilla suite) was built as a browser that ‘Just surfs the web and delivers the best possible browsing experience to its users’. One of the things that attracted me was, Firefox was customizable. Users can customize Firefox with extensions and themes. There are nearly 2000 add-on for Firefox which is maintained by Mozilla at addons.mozilla.org. I have been using Firefox for about 3 years now, it just keeps on improving release after release.

Recently Firefox 3 was released and me being an ardent Firefox fan downloaded it the very night ( also I had pledged to download it on the first day itself as a part of Mozilla’s initiative to create a Guinness world record for most downloaded software on a single day). Firefox features include tabbed browsing, spell checking, improved live bookmarking, an integrated download manager(you can pause and continue downloads) and the usual search system that uses the user’s desired search engines. Apart from these features some of the must have add-ons include(these are the ones I use) :-

  • ScribeFire – A blog editor
  • Adblock Plus – To stop annoying ads and banners on internet
  • NoScript – The best security you can get in a web browser
  • FlashGot – Download management tool
  • PicLens – Full screen, 3D visual experience of finding and viewing online photos
  • IE Tab – Needed for some sites which require IE for viewing their pages
  • Delicious plugin – To integrate with your favorite bookmarking site Delicious
  • GreaseMonkey – To customize the way you want to see webpage displays
  • Image Zoom – Zoom functionality for images
  • FoxyTunes – Listen to music while you surf

For web developers:

  • Firebug – development tools needed when you browse
  • WebDeveloper – Adds various Web Developer tools

Lastly its opensource and free.. so go ahead try and enjoy… happy browsing..:)

Firefox 3 on my winxp:


Certificate from Mozilla for creating the world record hehe 😉


The Great Indian Developer Summit

The Great Indian Developer Summit – finally I got to attend a developer summit in Bangalore!! Initially I got a promotional invite for this summit(since I was a member of some Java forum). After checking the registration fee, I decided against attending the summit(I have a big hole in my pocket :(, can’t afford to spend 9k for two days). Infy being a knowledge sponsor for this event had many delegate passes. I got one of these delegate passes for the fourth and fifth day of this summit.

The summit was divided into 3 sections depending on the current prevalent technologies. It was aptly called- bleeding edge .net, rich web and daring java. Daring java sessions was on the fourth and fifth day(22-23 May).

Day 1 – May 22:

I went to the venue hoping to find some fellow Infosions whom I knew. And as I went in I found few TFG (Techinical Focus Group)guys whom I knew very well. We got registered and like all the summits we got some goodies( a small bag and a pen ?!!). We had some tea and then went into to the main hall. This was my second time to this hall. I remember the first time I had come, I was in my college(7th semester) and a company by name Exalto had arranged a seminar on mobile Java technology. The only thing I remember of that seminar was I got a very good bag… The whole seminar didn’t make sense at that time as I had just started Java in that semester.

Now coming to this summit. Everyone came into the hall and the day started with a welcome address and a brief vision on Enterprise developer platforms!! The day was divided into a number of sessions planned simultaneous across three halls. I planned to attend a selected few sessions on performance, mashups and cloud computing. And the seating to these sessions were first come first served basis(people ran from one hall to another, literally!!)

Java Performance – Myths, Mysteries and Paradoxes, this session was taken by Holly cummins, a Java Performance Expert with IBM. Perhaps the words like ‘Performance’ and ‘Java’ drew large crowds to this session. Least to say many went disappointed, because there expectations were much above the speaker’s vision. Though the speaker tried to be not biased towards any particular JVM, at times she was kind of too happy about her pet JVM (IBM’s JVM). She did explain a few good issues involving Garbage collection and Java memory allocation. It was all nice to hear and get gyan, but its seldom thought about and applied in day to day programming.

Java and Dynamic Languages, this session was taken by Dr.Venkat Subramaniam, founder of Agile Developer Inc. His profile read a Agile Mentor and he lived up to his profile. Perhaps he was one of the most enterprising speaker of the summit. His session on Dynamic Languages was very informative and involving. The session was about how you could use dynamic languages like Groovy, JRuby and JPhyton with Java and build you applications more easily and effectively. p.s. I loved his Mac notebook. I am going to get one very soon!!

There was a fabulous lunch arranged for everyone(fabulous, what does that mean??).

– Enterprise Mashups using Java, this session was taken by Greg Murray, AJAX Architect for Sun Microsystems and creator of jMaki project(a AJAX framework to build applications). He took note of the audience knowledge and instead of explaining mashups he explained JSON and jMaki project and latter took on mashups with live demos.

Cloud Computing session by Jinesh Varia, technology evangelist from amazon.com. I wanted to know what is Cloud computing and how it works and Jinesh addressed these with all the details. At times he was very happy about himself or I guess Cloud computing!!!

After this I was kind of bored and none of the following session interested me, so I called it a day and went back home.

Day 2 – May 23:

Well the day started somewhat very sober, since it was the last day of summit.

Java Performance Tooling, this session was again taken by Holly Cummins. She gave a overview on various performance measuring tools which were more IBM specific(for obvious reasons). The tools she mentioned were IBM support assistant, MDD4J and GC and Memory visualizer to name a few.

An Introduction to JSF, this session was taken by Murtaza “Taz” Abdeali, Design Patterns Expert, This session was kind of replacement to another session. He went through the life cycle of JSF and I guess by the end of this session boredom had crept in and everyone were dozing off as this session was after lunch.

Open Source Tools for Agile Development, this session was again taken by Dr. Venkat, it was again full of fun and involving. He was explaining many tools like Junit, Mock Objects, JDepend, Corbertura and Jester. Just to mention this guy had a very good taste of humor. Eg:- He wrote a test case to show usage of JUnit and how it can help code coverage, and suddenly someone asked is there some tool to generate the particular code you just wrote and he was quick to respond “yes my friend, its called ‘Copy and Paste’. Similarly when someone questioned whether it is right to change the design while development, he responded ” If someone says- I have never changed the design after the design phase, then he is politely saying that the project got scrapped!!”The session end with a good number of Q&A’s.

The summit also had a exhibition. All the sponsors had set up shops which had various activities like quiz, lucky draws, registering to forums etc. Some tried to exhibit there products while some were busy advertising Jobs. One of the most attractive shops was of Adobe and Nokia. Nokia was attractive because it was giving away N95’s. And Adobe was showing off there flex technology on their Mac pc’s. The entire team(Raghunath Rao and his team) from Adobe impressed me and others by giving live demos and explaining how exactly the Flex worked and how one can start off developing it.

After all this I wasn’t in any mood to sit in there, I was also checking rains, while my friends were busy planning for the party that was arranged in Palace grounds by the organizers. The party had some developer anthem launch, two of the best rock bands playing and some cake cutting function. I wasn’t too keen in attending it, so just chucked it and returned back home.

All in all this was a great summit, and I would love to attend it next year also!!

Started finally !! My first post

Well I started this blog a long time back but never posted any thing, you can call this my ignorance or laziness. The main intension of creating this blog was to write my travel logs of various trips I made with my school and college friends. Now I guess, I will use this blog to write down some things that happen around me … well this is the starting …. let me see, how far I will hold on to this medium…


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