Thursday, June 4, 2015

Yes, I need a smart watch

1. Battery life be a minimum of a week. Charging happens only at the weekends
2. It should always show the time irrespective of the position of my wrist. I myself see the time on others wrist if by mistake I did not take my watch along and am too lazy to draw out the phone for the same.
3. Should be dead-drop easy to operate. In any menu, a particular key click should return me to the watch face. a la home button.
4. Open API's in terms of software and programmable interfaces w.r.t hardware attachments. This will ensure the longevity of the product.
5. The watch strap should be standard as per the existing watch industry practises. This will keep this creative industry alive and allows inclusive growth.
6. The watch case design particularly the inner area housing the electronics portion should be open.
7. The electronics should be housed in a compact plastic enclosure so that it can be easily removed by removing the back case of the watch as is the existing industry practise. The only thing exposed out of the plastic enclosure will be the metallic contacts for the keys on the watch case.
8. Points 5. 6, and 7 result in ultimate customizability and will allow the existing watch companies to come out with watch cases and straps taking the look of it a completely different level. This also allows the smart watch maker to concentrate on his core ability, that is, the smartness of the watch and leaving the traditional competency of case and strap design to the established ones.
9. Point 8 is very important in bringing down the cost of the watch, which in turn is another important requirement of a smart watch.
10. The entry level watch should always cost less to allow the mass to adopt.
11. You can always have watches for the filthy rich by just embedding a few diamonds here and there.
12. It should be waterproof. My INR 400/- watch bought 15 years ago never allowed a drop of water inside.
13. The UI to be very basic and to the point. No razzmatazz. Yes, of cours the watch for the filthy rich ones can have it(They may have another 10 nos on charge all the time)
14. The software should talk to the phone at the system level. Should not be dependent on the particular app on the phone. The upgrades to the watch should be only when the OS on the phone changes, not when the app changes( I maybe wrong here. But it is a far stretched idea. Now, all programmers dont draw out your forks).
15. It should have the latest and the best connectivity stack optimized for power usage(bluetooth now).
16. Font and font size to be configurable. I like small font and more information.
17. Intensity of vibrations to be configurable
18. The handshake once established between the source device and the watch should be aggressively maintained until the physical limits are reached.
19. Smart watch makers should stop thinking about it as a small mobile and think of it as a watch first. Start from there. It should meet all the requirements of the watch first, then go on adding smartness in an iterative manner. There is definitely no hurry.
20. By opening up the hardware design the smart watch manufacturers can include the existing manufacturers thereby launching a variety of hardware shells instead of one smart watch. Just imagine the options the customer is going to get by this methodology.
21. Should it be able to recieve phone calls. No. Should it be able to reply to messages. Yes, small ones, prestored.
22. Should it do a zillian things, Yes. But the first thing it should be is, it should be a watch and show me the f*&$!*#g time.

Any smartwatch has to be first a "WATCH"

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Barbecue food for the first time at Barbecue nation, Indiranagar, Bangalore

I am not an "eat out" guy. But, occassion demanding, I do venture out. The usual case would be a North Indian meal or a Biryani. I have been hearing about Barbeque nation for quite a number of years. Never ventured out since I am not a fan of the buffet style of eating. You are spoilt for choice and maybe eat up the wrong dish or eat your favorite dish so much that you will never have it for a considerable amount of time. One of my  colleague took me out to Barbeque nation to celebrate his marriage. Just the two of us. He frequents the place and exactly paced his eating. Me on the other side, finished my lunch in the first half an hour itself. The secret of a buffet lunch is the pacing of your consumption of food. Dont finish with the starters. This is what I did. In fact, the first time, I was not able to taste all the starters. Totally wrong.

Let us come down to Barbeque nation in particular. I had never tasted meat cooked in the Barbeque style. And when the proceedings start with a private Barbeque grill on your table itself, things really got exciting. First and foremost, book in advance. Infact book the day before and then confirm your booking the next day(You will be asked to do it). Your table will be held for 15~20 minutes. Make sure you reach 5~10 minutes in advance. I also suggest you to book in the first round like 12.30 in the afternoon.

1. You will be shown in to your table
2. You will be given a brief regarding the starters which will be served
3. You will be given an option of complimentary drink(some mocktails, Fruit Juice Or a Beer)
4. You will be told that the meat will be cooked 80% in the kitchen and the other 10~20% cooking will happen at your private grill.
5. On the table you will have three varieties of sauce and three coatings available for enhancing the taste of your meat once it arrives on your table.
6. You will be asked for feedback multiple number of times regarding the level of spices and recommend any improvements. This is definitely a learning organization.
7. Sonny told the chicken was little on the spicier side, He was served chicken with toned down spices and again requested for feedback.
8. Service is quick and effortless.
9. I did not find any issues even with the main course. I had thought that the main course would be neglected since the core strength of the restaurant was Barbequed meat.
10. The mutton dhum Biryani was nice. It tasted exactly like Biryani mad "dhum" style. Dont forget to have it.
11. Indian breads are available and will be served at your table.
12. Somewhere at the end of the meal, We were asked if the occassion was a little special and I answered that it was our anniversary.

13. Within the next 10 minutes, we were offered a sumptious cake with wishes for our anniversary, on the house. Totally bowled over.
14. Cakes are fresh, soft, creamy and right quantity.
15. Phirni, Kheer, Neatly cut fruits, Ice creams with generous supply of chocolate toppings
16. Did I forget the Veg salads.
17. Wash the whole thing down with a varieties of kulfis.
18. Wish the staff and the valet will come out with your car.
19. Nicely done.

Kudos to the entire staff and the management for the idea and its awesome implementation.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Trip to Pondicherry, Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram and vellore

Switched on Mapmyindia navigator and put the destination to point the resort we booked at Pondicherry. Left Bangalore around 6.00 AM, just to beat the traffic on hosur road. Lot of "work under progress" along the route so reached the resort at around 1.00 PM in the afternoon. Went to the restaurant in the resort itself. Ordered butter naans and related side dishes. The butter naan was out of the world. It was soft and really buttery smooth. It just melted in the mouth. The side dishes were alright. Took a nap. Left the resort to visit a beach and headed straight towards paradise beach. Heard and read about it a lot over the public network. The beach lives up to its name. It is absolutely non-commercial. No hawkers, No vendors. Just a plain and beautiful beach. It is populated only by the fishermen going about their chores. Do carry enough eatables. You really dont get anything here. Stayed until dawn then returned back to the resort. While returning back, had food at a restaurant which claimed to offer chettinad fare. The butter naans were bad. Biryaani was one of the worst I had.

Next morning it was more beach after having complimentary breakfast from the resort. This time it was serenity beach. The temperature was soaring and we were wet with the sweat itself. Sonny played a while along the beach. We then had fish from the nearest hawker on the beach. It was horrible. We washed it down with tender coconut and cucumber. Went back to the resort. Took some rest and strolled around. There is an eerie calmness in the place made possible by the Non-Indian settlers. Everybody goes about their chores without any complaints. Went out for dinner and just 500m from the resort was this place called tanto. They make awesome Pizzas. Be sure to see the size of the pizza being served before ordering one. Go for the one with sea food toppings. It has everything from shrimps, fish and ....... I think one big pizza is enough for a family of three.

Second morning had breakfast packed the things and headed to Mahabalipuram. Checked into the hotel and it gave me one of the worst experiences on the trip. Visited the shore temple. The sun was burning down, but the visitors cared a damn. It was crowded. Nobody understood anything. They just roamed through the shore temple. No guides were in sight. Then it was time for Crocodile park, about 15 kms from Mahabalipuram towards chennai. It was a nice park. Many varieties of the reptile was on display in their natural habitat. Went back to the hotel. For dinner I searched for a barbecue restaurant and couldn't locate it. Just had a pure veg lunch instead.

Third morning had complementary breakfast and then headed to Arjuna's penance. There we did get a guide and he took us through all the rocky history and architecture. The most important thing which caught my ears was that King krishnadevaraya built a shelter for one of the carvings in Mahabalipuram. Checked out from the hotel and started towards Kanchipuram. Checked into the hotel and the experiences worsened. Plan was to visit kamakshi temple on the next day. But seeing the hotel condition decided to return that very day. Family did some shopping of cotton silk sarees. The whole town is full of silk emporiums bigh, small and all other sizes in between. Had lunch at saravana bhavan. I dont know from when Daal became south Indian. The worst south Indian food money can buy.

Left towards Bangalore around evening. The we see that vellore is on the way to Bangalore. decided to vist vellore golden temple. Proved to be a big mistake. Reached temple around 7.00 PM. Immediately joined the line and it led into one of the lock rooms which declared that the waiting time for the rendezvous with the goddess would be 3.00 hours. The whole family sprung into action and started searching for a way out of the locker. Got the guard to open the gate and we rushed back towards our vehicle. The moment we left the enclosure, it started raining in torrents. It was a good .5 km to the vehicle and we saw all the sizes of cats and dogs during this period. Drove into the rain for approximately 2.00 hrs. Then the rain calmed down. The roads were excellent. The vehicle was always on a paid toll road.

All the hotels in the itinery were booked through Their followup is nice. Once you login to their website, you will have a chat window floating to the bottom right of the screen. If you are overwhelmed by the choices and are having a specific requirement you can chat up with their rep. If the phone number is mentioned then they will give you a call and help in finalizing the hotel. At that time the prices on stayzilla were the lowest.

Purple resort at Pondicherry

1. Neatly maintained rooms
2. Fresh and clean towels
3. Soft and heavily cushioned beds and neat covers.
4. Neat toilet
5. Fabulous swimming pool
6. Tasty food(Awesome butter naan)
7. Lot of variety in the breakfast buffet
8. Parking space.
9. Lot of service staff
10 Neat cupboards
11 Complimentary Wi-fi

Mamalla inn at Mahabalipuram

1. No parking space at all. Have to park at the reception area
2. Cheap tactics(With one kid you have to buy an additional bed, though you don't require it or you have to pay for the breakfast for your kid)
3. My vehicle got damaged at the bumper owing to the wrong directions from the hotel boy.
4. Broken wooden planks in the bathroom
5. No hangers in the bathroom
6. Very less variety in the breakfast buffet
7. 1 or 2 service staff
8. Unpleasant swimming pool at the roof with plenty of chlorine for ultimate dis-satisfaction
9. Dirty cupboards
10. Wi-fi  Forget about it.

Ramco residency at Kanchipuram

1. No parking space. You are on your own. It is the heart of the buzzling shopping activity
2. Rooms have not been cleaned for years together
3. No towels given
4. The bed covers were not washed in years. You can see the white spots throughout the sheet.
5. Dirty toilets and mugs.
6. Forget about using the cupboards
7. Wi-fi  Dont speak that language

Happy holidays.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

South India is NOT Tamilnadu. It is much much much more.......

Let us get down to it. Bollywood and mass media are making a huge blunder by representing the entire southern part of India as Tamilnadu. Tamilnadu is a state of the various others in the souther part of India. Let us name the southern states which the northern part of India tries to represent as one single large piece called Tamilnadu

1. Karnataka
2. Kerala
3. Seemandhra
4. Telangana
5. Pondicherry
6. Lakshadweep and other islands

The six states listed above are as unique as The united states of America and India. Every state has its own unique identity. If we go on based on the linguistic basis(The methodology used for framing states) we can list the languages in the same order

1. Kannada
2. Malayalam
3. Telugu
4. Telugu(A little difference in pronounciation)
5. Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, French(Yes)
6. Malayalam, Mahl

Now, I dont see how all these different languages which are so different can be compressed to one single language called Tamil. A person proficient in any one language will not be able to understand an iota of any other languages. The way the languages are written dont match. They are ages different from each other in pronounciation and written words. Each language in its uniqueness speaks volumes about the differences in culture, attitude, outlook, practises, Ideals and other human properties.

In fact, in Karnataka, there are other districts which speak completely different languages and are fighting for a "state" status since they have their own original language like Tulu and konkani.

But, when it comes to Bangalore, things change. It is the one "real" cosmopolitan of India. Uh uh, Ok. What is the purpose of this post? The purpose is not Jingoism, the purpose is information, the purpose is clarity. So, anybody visiting souther india, Just remember you are visiting a world altogether. It is not visiting all the temples in south india in one go. It is understanding the uniqueness of all the groups of people. Nothern India is very careful in differentiating itself as Marathis, Gujarathis and etc. We dont believe in that. We are unique but we are a part of the family called the "World". But if you want to identify us, do so with each of our uniqueness.

I want the mass media and the film industry to please do some home work and put some work into selling the uniqueness of all the souther states with the district you are thinking of also. Give all the southerners our own identity. Dont you make a stamp and press it on us.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Unify the memory of Find 7 QHD using LVM(All credits to Dev, Entropy)

NOTE: I am not responsible for any physical damage or bricking your device or loss of *imporatant* data or for wasting your *precious* time. Strictly use the info provided at your very own risk.

As discussed in the previous post, the layered memory layout of oppo is arcane and absurd and of course, silly. There are now, two options to come out of this scenario.
1. Modify the physical partitions
2. Provide an intermediate software layer without changing the physical layout of the partitions scheme

Method 1 is dangerous and has to be used with great caution. You need a computer to convert your phone to unified and then to de-unify it. Method 2 is my choice. It does not play with the physical partition layout. This method has been adopted to the find 7 by Dev, Entropy. Oppo incorporated the same methodology in doling out color os 2.0.4i albeit with their own modifications and have not opened their modifications for public scrutiny. Entropy already fixed few issues in their implementation by releasing a boot image with the necessary changes. But, still, it is not up to his expectations.

Now, to really use his actual work, we have to install a custom rom supporting this methodology. We have two after market roms which have implemented this methodology. One is Omni rom and the other is nameless rom. We will go ahead with nameless rom since it uses sources from a variety of after market roms like Cyanogenmod, omni and others. Nameless has support for LVM via the efforts of dev morkx and evisceration. Let us begin

1. Un-unify(You will lose all data in phone storage, external card is safe, by the way)
2. Download the rom and place it in the external sd card
3. Download the gapps from the nameless thread and put it on the external sd card
4. Download these two files from here and place them in the external sd card
5. Place the color os 1.2.7 on the external sd card
6. step 5 is required since some sensors dont play well with the KK betas from oppo and NFC wont work if 1.2.7 is not flashed.
7. step 5 is required to avoid any blank screens while taking calls and other situations.
8. shutdown the phone
9. Put the phone into fastboot mode and connect to pc
10. fastboot twrp >
11. reboot to twrp
12. take a backup of the current rom.
13. shut down the phone
14. put the phone into fastboot mode
15. fastboot the oppo recovery
16. Reboot the phone to oppo recovery
17. Flash color os 1.2.7
18. Reboot to color os 1.2.7
19. shutdown the phone
20. fastboot twrp >
21. reboot to twrp
22. Do the usual wipes
23. Flash the nameless rom(The latest versions have LVM and coldbird's unification support rolled into one)
24. Flash gapps
25. Reboot to nameless
26. Reboot to twrp
27. Flash the setup_lvm zip from step 4.
28. Reboot to nameless
29. Go to settings and check the storage option.
30. Your phone is now unified and running the latest and greatest android.

Update: After step 28 go to fastboot mode and flash the 2.x modem from the OP of Namelss rom. This resolves majority of sensor issues. If this is not helping then there is a sensor fix also which can be flashed from the same post.

Update2: If you want to switch partition layout on stock roms be sure that you have stock recovery from 2.0.5 beta or above(Only these versions have support for switching partitions on stock rom)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lolipop (Android v5) on Oppo Find 7(S)(QHD)

NOTE: I am not responsible for any physical damage or loss of *imporatant* data or for wasting your *precious* time. Strictly use the info provided at your own risk.

Oppo caught my eye because of the developer friendliness of the forums. And it is good that it comes recommended by various devs out at XDA. If anybody visits their forums, they would be shocked to see that the custom roms are allowed to be uploaded and discussed about equivalent to their own color os. Now, there are some glaring issues with the device

1. No unified memory(Yes, this is something many of the major brand phone users dont understand. This is becuase all their phones have unified memory). search the public network for more on this.
2. The color OS from oppo is still at JB in its stable version.
3. There is not ETA regarding the upgrade of the phone to KK or lolipop

So, what do we have here?  We have a phone with excellent hardware specs(This is pretty relative since the specs area a moving target), Good build quality and QHD resulution. The display is crisp and clear.

As concerns cooking of custom roms, oppo helps the third party devs a lot and also showers them with free devices to aid them in development. Another plus is that your warranty is not void if you flash a custom rom until you dont damage a hardware component in the process

The roadblocks in development/cooking of custom roms are

1. No Kernel sources(were available, now removed)
2. No blob bundles(as provided by sony)

But, still devs have been succesful in cooking up custom roms and have succesfully built lolipop roms using jelly bean blobs and other pieces from one plus one. So the result is we have working Lolipop roms from Nameless(based on cm) and omni. Both the forums are very active and what rom is chosen is just based on personal preference. Nameless is a bit senior here.

Getting down to business let us see how to flash custom roms on the find 7. There are various roms based on KK for the find 7(CM, PA(official device status), Nameless and many more). The general procedure to be followed can be summarized as below

1. connect the phone with coloros. In windows it will prompt for installing software of the phone. Install it. This will install the necessary drivers.
2. Shut down the phone
3. Press the up volume and power button until the phone vibrates
4. The phone will display "fastboot..." exactly at the centre of the screen
5. Connect the phone to your computer
6. Wait for windows to install the necessary fastboot drivers(required only once, later phone will be recognized immediately)
7. Open terminal . Go to the folder where you have your adb and fastboot executables
8. Run "fastboot devices"
9. This should return a serial number
10. copy the twrp and coloros recovery and rename them aptly into the folder with fastboot and adb executables
11. flash the twrp recovery run "fastboot flash recovery twrp....img"
12. unmount the phone
13. shut down the phone
14. Hold the down volume button and press the power button together until the phone vibrates
15. You will boot to twrp
16. Backup the present coloros and reboot
17. Boot the phone into coloros
18. shut down the phone
19. Press the down volume button and the power button until the phone vibrates
20. if you boot into the coloros recovery it is fine. Otherwise follow the steps from 2 to 13. But use the coloros_recovery.img in the fastboot command
21. Flash coloros v1.2.5
22. This is the version with the modem which plays well with all the custom roms out there.
23. shut down the phone
24. follow the steps from 2 to 13 and flash twrp........img
25. step 14 and 15
26. From now on you know the drill of installing a custom rom(Before installing any custom rom or coming back to color os from custom rom, do a standard wipe(cache, data, dalvik cache))
27. For me paranoid android was of choice for the find 7. The major reason is it being maintained as the "official" device
28. The other major reason being that their releases are sedate and minimal.
29. As for other things on PA check out a video made available on the oppo forums regarding PA on find 7 QHD.

PS:- You can try out the cm12 from a chinese developer and he is making regular releases. It is a nice release and you can contine to use it until you like lolipop and CM starts making official nightlies. Be ready for gotchas when you install custom roms. Kernel sources are not available, all blobs are not available. There may be issues with your phone. But, then, you know the risks.

You are now finished with trying and playing with custom roms and now want to return to stock. Just restore the backup you earlier made. Flash back the color os recovery. You are now ready to recieve OTA's from oppo.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mahindra Scorpio Sle, My drive.

Well, now that I have got my vehicle let me drive it my way(A pun on sachin tendulkar's line "Now that I am captain, Let me do it my way").

1. The stance: The way the vehicle stands on the road is majestic. I don't think mahindra is going to change any of the exteriors. There are no sharp corners like the XUV(That is the major reason i dislike it and also the stance is that of a traditional SUV. We have many with similar looks on the road) All the corners are contoured and rounded. Sufficient bonnet length to make the driver feel safer. I don't know the effectiveness of the crumple zone but, here i will take mahindra's word. The way it lunges forward is awesome.

2. The indicators are clearly visible. But I thought that the rear indicators throughout the height of the vehicle are a little too much. I have seen a lot of scorpios with the tail lights painted black for the top half and I liked the way the vehicle looked at the rear after this. Would I get it done, I don't know for now.

3. The road clearance is ample but a bit lesser than the LX which does not come with the claddings all around. Trust me, the claddings are required. Climbing the vehicle can be daunting for people used to smaller cars and the steps all around the vehicle attached to the claddings are very much a requirement.

4. The extra moolah spent on the chequered flag sticker is really well spent. It provides a sense of class to the vehicle and breaks the mundane white throughout the vehicle.

5. The front grill is good but it can still be perfected and be made a bit meaner.

6. Step on the driver seat and the feel is elated and elevated both at the same time and is more so for people coming from driving small cars. All of a sudden you will be seeing the road with a different look. The vision clear and lucid. The driver height which is a major feature of any SUV is spot on. The seats are comfortable. But there is definitely lot of scope of improvement. The steering wheel is nice and with angular adjustment, that is the only degree of freedom for the driver. Seats cannot be adjusted. The height of the steering wheel cannot be adjusted. Turn back from the drive seat and have a look at the space. It will be a shocker.

7. The cabin space is as large as a standard room. If you go for the captain seats, the amount of air flow in the cabin is going to surprise you. Don't go for lighter colors for the seats you will regret it. Particularly with kids moving around the space available. It is very easy to change seats with the captain seat configuration. Believe me there will be lot of movement between     the inmates. The largess of your vehicle is clearly visible when you reverse your vehicle and you see the awesome distance between your seat and the rear end of your car.

8. The rear seats are for kids and shorter people only. With the adjustment available in the captain seat configuration, the middle seat can be adjusted for ultimate comfort or for medium comfort based on whether we have people in the rear seat.

9. Driving the vehicle requires lot more effort than the usual small cars. Especially in city traffic, you can get really tired. The hyper-vibrating gear knob does not help at all. The long travel clutch pedal is also a hindrance while driving in city conditions. Make sure you have lengthy legs to drive the scorpio for the long travel of the clutch pedal. The first half travel of the clutch pedal does not do anything. The action starts from above half the travel of the clutch pedal.

10. Long drives, huh, you have the perfect vehicle. I had a lot of trouble keeping the vehicle between 60-80 Kph. It will easily slip into 120 kph once you engage the fifth gear. I have decided to drive the vehicle within this band so as to keep the RPM below 2000 for at least 2000 Km.

11. Braking is nice and ABS works perfect. I am new to this ABS thing and I like the grace it gives to the vehicle during braking.

12. The way the spare tyre was positioned got me thinking. What was going throughout the designer's head at that time. I thought that they forgot completely about the spare tyre and then decided the position as an after-thought. The sales person was explaining the way to remove the spare tyre from under the rear and I was really amused. Much smaller and cheaper cars have awesome placing of the spare tyre. Terribly disappointed at this aspect of the scorpio.

13. Mileage, forget it. Don't ask me. It really hurts here. My monthly spending will be doubled.

14. Does this vehicle rock? It rocks like a boat. Even small humps when negotiated on one of the tyres rocks the vehicle sideways. It takes a considerable amount of time for this movemet to be dampened. People driving high end cars will definitely be put off by this aspect of the scorpio. The vehicle rocks length wise also when you negotiate a hump all of a sudden. This vehicle definitely rocks(rolls and yaws)!!!!!!!!!!!. Drive the vehicl smooth and slow over any undulations in the road.

15. Dont use the hand brake frequently. It will lose its capability and the stroke of the hand brake is very much limited. Keep it for situations which really demand it. Park the vehicle with first or the reverse gear engaged(This is recommended in the manual also).

16. Idylling generates lot of sound. After driving a little the sound reduces during movement.

17. The scropio has gone through many revisions. The way I look at it, the revisions have been in the form of retro-fits. I have never seen a vehicle with that many wirings out in the open. I just looked beneath my seat and I saw lot of wirings below the driver seat as well as the middle row. These thing happen only because of retro-fits. Hope that the next avataar of the scorpio is a really re-designed one and not a retro-fitted one.

18. Since the remote central locking does not close the windows automatically(If they are open while you alight from the vehicle), I was informed by the sales guy that a retro-fit (here we go again)  to this effect is in the works and may be available in a couple of months.

Summary :-

I love my drive. "Its the driver. Not the drive", is it?  What's the driver without his drive? Huh............