Thursday, April 14, 2016

My first trip towards the North of India, Maharashtra on a Mahindra Scorpio SLE

Disclaimer: This blog does not encourage you to take long distance trips nor asks you to speed up your vehicle beyond the stipulated mark as and when mentioned on the highways. Drive responsibly. Slow down as you reach villages.

Left home exactly at 4.30 am. Road to davanagere are good. Tolls all the way. Reached Guru kotureshwara hotel, davanagere (14.453710, 75.915252), at 8.30. Turns out that is the perfect time for breakfast. The place is too modest. Just the size of a small room. Ur order is limited to set dosa or benne dosa. We opted for the benne dosa. Had to wait approximately 20 minutes. All this while I was just watching with awe the chef was continually going through the motion of belting out 10 dosas at a time with such perfect timing and finesse. He exactly knew when the dosas were fried just right. The aroma is unbelievable. The hotel is truly Japanese ideology. It just doles out what it can do best. The first bite presents my tongue with a medley of salt, chilly, pepper, mixed in the preparation of the batter itself. and all these harsh flavors moderated by oodles of butter. U also get a handful of potato mash and coconut chutney. But, believe me, u can have the dosa as is or with any other side dish u want and it will taste the same. We ordered two dosas per person in the beginning itself and that was an excellent decision.As a side note, we returned to this hotel again during our return journey at around 1.00 PM in the afternoon and the activities in the hotel are the same. They are outstaffed and out of space. Had to wait a good 15 minutes before my order was taken.

It was the time to hit the road again towards kolhapur. The stop at kolhapur was only for having kolhapur mutton. Again excellent tolled roads all the way and reached hotel opal, kolhapur, (16.703068, 74.250572) at around 1.30 pm. Parking is available. The layout of the hotel was very confusing and sonny rightly called it bhul bhulayya. The rooms were spacious. Toilets were clean. Ac working. With another small bed. By the side of the double bed. Just right for a couple with a kid. The restaurant serves all Maharashtrian delicacies. Had a Maharashtrian thaali which had all the regular food u can find to be specifically Maharashtrian. If u had Hyderabad dishes u will be at home with all the spicy nature of kolhapuri food.

Did not want do go out much. Sonny pressed us to visit the mall just next door. Went there and did the unthinkable. Watched a Telugu movie. Woke up in the morning and headed towards the restaurant for breakfast. The assortment was truly Maharashtrian. We had misal pav, upma, poha, sweet curd. The misal was a revelation. The taste and the ingredients going in r unique. A mixture of healthy and sinful ingredients. U have bhujia on the one band with varying thickness and shapes which is to be drowned in a spicy, oily curry of sprouts. The combination is a spicy and very tasty did efor use with any Indian bread, but normally used with pav. The poha is nice, mildly fried and spicy. In the South the poha ingredient is used to make a variety of kheer. Was thinking of visiting phadtares misal kendra, udyam nagar, (16.694454, 74.233168), but decided against it after having it in the restaurant itself. Checked out of the hotel and drove towards Mahalaxmi temple, kolhapur, (16.660884, 74.211154). Be very careful while visiting this place. It is somewhat hidden in the centre of the city. Google maps was totally confused. Ask the locals. And be careful there are a lot of mahalaxmi temples around kolhapur. The next stop was rankala lake, kolhapur, 16.693724, 74.209255. It is a big lake and I did not see any boating activity. Maybe it happens in the evening.

Time to hit the road again. Headed towards hotel panorama, mahabaleswar, (17.924890, 73.656868). This decision was solely based on the availability of swimming pool, nearness to market, parking and ac rooms. Not disappointed. It had all our requirements. It was located right in the heart of the market area. Had lunch at the hotel and it was ordinary. U receive a food coupon on arrival and u have no option but to use them. At checkout i was told that there is a balance in my food coupons and was advised to take a parcel. Decided to take a sandwich. One issue, the room was not serviced, though we gave the keys to the reception and instructed them to do so.

The market area was unique. It displayed nothing else than whatever was grown or fabricated in house. It rarely had the usual fare. Had a mixed fruit ice gola. Mahabaleswar is red, red with strawberry plantations. If u like strawberries, then, there is no better place than here. Everything is strawberry. Juice, ice cream, fudge, chikkie, u name it. Sone juice making companies are housed here. Maple is one among them. The maple restaurant is huge. Pizzas sandwiches, juices, mock tails, ice creams, sinful. U have a plethora of fruit concentrates, bottled pulp and plenty of ready to drink mock tails. Bought pina colada and a mojito. Sonny bought a chocolate drink, The better half bought a rose based drink. Visited venna lake boat club, mahabaleshwar, (17.934275, 73.668901) row and pedal boats r available.

For lunch we headed towards panchgani, (17.923644, 73.798307), another hill station approx 18 kms. Hidden here unknown to the lesser mortals is jafer bhai's Delhi darbar (17.921530, 73.796844), Do not miss this place, if u r not a delhite. Ordered a chicken starter and two mutton biryani. The ambience is nice with a bit of parking available. The starter was spicy, juicy, creamy and fresh. They just called it darbar special. Next was the biryani. If u r two, start with just one biryani otherwise u will struggle plenty to finish ur meal. Enough about qty, let us talk about quality. The biryani is aromatic, just spicy enough with a medley of colors and flavors. The mutton juicy, tender, spices spread throughout the core, indication of good marination and nice dum style cooking. A good biryani doesn't require anything to support it except itself. This was proved once again here. Here u r served only the biryani, no curds nor any other curry. other masala. It was not required. Excellent fare. This space is a haven for meat lovers. I just enjoyed every byte of food at this place

Next destination was shirdi. The route took us through the most gruelling drive. Pune is a concrete jungle in the most realistic sense. The traffic drove me mad. Approx 100 kms of hateful driving. My beast was huffing at the traffic. It did not hide its dislike for the traffic.

Reached mtdc shirdi, aka, travellers inn, around 3.30 pm. It is just at a distance of 100 metres from the temple. The moment u near the temple there will be touts and they will virtually catch u by ur hand and take u to their shop and give u all the required pooja things and charge u starting from INR 450/-. But there is really no need except u know what u r doing. Back to the hotel, had a coffee. It was good. For dinner we decided to have it in the in-house restaurant. Food was also good. Had a masala soda just to wash things down, just in front of the hotel, was good

Checked out around 9.00. Drove to etrange resort, 8 kms from ellora. Came to know that very day that ellora caves are closed on Tuesdays(Ajanta caves are closed on monday). Also came to know on that day, ajanta caves are 112 kms from our resort. No option but to visit ajanta. And in all the reviews, ajanta gets more brownie points. Got out the beast and headed towards ajanta caves. The road is good for 80 percent of the distance. The other 20% is nerve rattling. Reached around 1.30 pm. The last 4 kms are to be covered only by mtdc buses which are available every 10 minutes in both AC and non AC versions. There r three ways to climb the hills.
1. Crossing the bridge available, it will take u directly to cave no 9.
2. Climb the steps, the hardest and the best way. It will take u to cave no 1 and will in reality take u from 200 BC to the next 800 years.
3. If u can't walk then there are people to carry u in a palki like chair

Don't use cameras with flash, it is supposed to affect the paintings. Drinking water is available along the entire distance of the caves. Chilled water is available somewhere around the 9th cave. Do not forget to take guide. If u don't take a guide then, don't visit the place. U will not be able to appreciate the art, history, evolution of techniques, phasing out of ideas and ideals. There is an mtdc restaurant at the hills, for info. The best time to visit is the monsoons. It will be more picturesque and cool. If u head out in the summers wear chappals and carry an umbrella. Of course a water bottle.

Came back to the resort, had food. Half handi of mutton masala, semi gravy and chapattis. Both were prepared well. Nothing out of the ordinary. The chef, seeing, us south Indians had just made the mutton fiery enough. He admitted that he did not want to take any risk. The last course was kheer without dry fruits and it did taste good. Swimming pool was not clean, disappointing day for sonny.

The resort is good. It has a conference hall which can be converted to a dancing hall with a computer ready to accommodate a DJ. A swimming pool. Made to order dishes, a further free area after the swimming pool for other games. Negatives, don't go in summer, guests r minimal. It is a very solitary place. All the facilities might not be as u thought it would be. No WiFi. No shops nearby.

There was one big issue from stayzilla, through which I booked the resort, they booked a double AC room and then three days later, I get a call telling me though I booked an ac room, the amount I paid was only sufficient for a normal room. So if u book through stayzilla, confirm with them about the room and all the amenities. I also received a link to provide feedback, but it takes me to the homepage, so......

Had a veg sandwich in the morning and left for ellora caves. Reached at 9.00 AM and then came to know it is open from morning 6.00 AM to evening 6.00 PM. Biggest mistake of the day. Again beware of touts and head towards mtdci nformation centre. It is a huge campus with facility for an expansive vehicle parking. From thee again, mtdc/msrtc operates buses to the ellora caves. Just remember the caves are spread across a distance of 4 kms. If u buy a ticket here u can catch any bus moving within the ellora campus and move around between the caves. U r totally lost without a guide. Not much paintings to see here. They r damaged. But the carvings r more pronounced here.

My 2 cents tip when u go to any place if art is

1. Look closely at the face. Lot of feelings will be expressed here. The intent of the art piece is evident from the face.

2. The other portions of the body will reinforce this feel.

3. Keep the religion, race, creed, language, color for later. The artist talks to u irrespective of all these.

4. Majority of the carvings and paintings are serial and follow a certain progression. The progression is visible in the quality also, a result of learning.

Its time to go home. The route taken, hotels chosen have been affected by this blog post on team-bhp. I am stressing this here because, I wanted to skip pune altogether in my return journey. The route to be taken to do so was taken from this blog. Couldn't return home on the same day. Rented a budget hotel at kolhapur and called it a day. I don't like driving in the night when surroundings and people r not visible and I cannot taste the local food, the local fruit.

Honorable mention regarding food. On my return journey I tasted a twist of the venerable dum biryani. With the regular masala, this had fried corn chips, deep fried onions, lots of cloves and plenty of pepper. The concoction was tasty and crispy. The mutton definitely was beautifully dum cooked. There was only one chicken item, fried chicken. No twist here, but tasty. I don't remember the hotel name. Who cares. U might find a different twist in some other place. For a foodie, is there any limit......

Everything about any trip starts with and ends with the "drive". There is a catch 22 here. Whether the destination or the path to the destination, which is more important or which comes first. Without path you don't reach the destination and without a destination you cannot formulate a path. It is "very" difficult to single out which was more beautiful, the journey or the destinations. My jumbo did a 140 Kmph as effortlessly as it did 160 Kmph. I have a suggestion for the RTO of India. The driving license for a two wheeler should be given only and only if the driver passes the test given for cars also. These two wheeler drivers spoil the entire fun of a "drive" in a car. They should be shown "this" fun of driving a car and then they will know how not to destroy the journey for all the car drivers.

Almost throughout the journey the roads were good owing to the pune highway. With fuel guzzlers, it is always better to fill up when the fuel gage reads half way.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A few days in vasco, Goa

Now, vasco is a strange city. To start with its name is vasco da gama. Only to the outside world this is the name. Once you land in the place it is just vasco. May be in the long run it will be renamed such.

Goa normally is associated with fun, frolic, lazy, hazy and other synonyms. But vasco is not so. This, now, is a regular city. The heart of the city is bustling with activity. A walk through the fish market in the night will pop your eyes out with the variety. There is a sad side to all this. As a tourist you dont get to see hotels providing you with that same variety of fish food that is caught. All the good/best ones make it out of Goa. The ordinary ones are left. In one of the best hotels also the fish food fare is quite ordinary and well known and one more common thing is the cost, it is no way competitive.

The heart of the city is flush with veg and non-veg hotels doling out the same usual stuff common across India. My gripe whenever I go is that the local cuisine is not doled out in the city areas. Unless you know where to eat local fare, you will be provided with the standard Indian food. How can we be a roman in Rome, If you are not treated so? I believe a foreign traveller who is travalling across our country would know all our standard fare by-heart. If the numer of languages baffle everybody the real local cuisine is going blow their taste buds out.

The closest beach is Baina. It is a nice beach, a quite one. Not much of commercial activities around it. If you want to spend a quite evening I would recommned it wholesomely. The next closest one is the Bogmallo beach. Here I observed plenty of commercial activities and a lot number of tourists both foreign and local. Though the population on the beach is no way comparable to the ones in the other sides of Goa. The best thing is there are lots of shacks lined along the beach for you to have a drink until the sun goes down and a few hours more. If you want that to continue then your best bet would be Bagamallo resort right at the beach. The huge walls along the resort is a big turn off for me. But it succeds where the shacks fail, a comfy bed for the night. By now you know what to do to get the better of both the worlds.

To start with I am not a fan of goan cuisine. So, I limited myself to less adventorous food. Anantasram was the first pit stop. It was suggested by a friend. Turns out this place is exactly how I wished it would be. A large open area and two comfort levels of AC areas. The open large area is best in the evenings and for the afternoons....Yes, you guesed it right. It offers all the usual Indian fare with a bit of continental and chinese. Major issues with these mid-tiers is the limitation in the brands of beer. They normally stock two to three brands utmost. If your want to have variety the best bet would be the retail shops spread across the city, ofcourse your hotel where you are staying should allow it. I would always like to keep my drinks and food away from my hotel room so as to have a neat comfy space to sleep onto. Coming back to Anantasram, they have a good selection of cocktails, All well known, standard ones. I had a pina colada. It was the most "classic" pina colada I had to date. They strictly stuck to the book. Then it was the turn of Feni, the local drink. I tried a cocktail based on it and it was different and fresh. It tasted cashew all the way. Two more lemons did not douse the cashew in it. Feni is also supposed to be made from pine, but it was in short supply across the city, the option was always cashew feni. The fish fingers were one of the lonest ones I had and were tasty.

The next stop on an other day was spice chariot. Ordered a fenny based drink and fish fry. Again un-succesfully tried to dilute the cashew flavor. For the next drink, I asked the bar tender to "Surprise me". I was offered "Sex on the beach". The drink was vodka based with fresh lime and peppermint flavors garnished with tulsi leaves. The drink was very refreshing and succesfuly removed the ramaining feni flavors.

The roads are decent. Public transport is through private vehicles. Good enough, sufficient and frequent. Be careful during lunch time. Better have a looong lunch or you will be stranded for want of transportation. And again normally lunch at any hotel ends around 3 - 4 pm and they shut down until evening.

The next day was a veg day, vasco fails you totally. Majority of the south indian restaurants are run by north indians who dont know anything about the sambars. So, you are warned.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

My tryst with Ian Murdock's Debian GNU/Linux

I bought an assembled computer in the year 2000. The hardware was assembled by friends from my computer science department(I being a Mech engineer). They installed me the "latest" operating system, Win ME. I was also very happy, friends visited my home to see my computer. They wanted to "see" a computer with 128 GB RAM and a blazing fast 650 Mhz processor. Before that I had used DOS to run foxpro programs for my 1st sem engg. The next exposure was using Autocad in my final semester. The computers in the college were old school and "just" enough to run the required app. Played around with my new computer. Heard a heap os mp3s, watched a few movies on vcds, played a few games and thats it. After a month, the only result was that I learnt Autocad with great proficiency. After this, it got boring. Did not touch for around a month later. During this time, while discussing with a friend who had just joined a UNIX course. He did not know that he was learning GNU/Linux, Not his mistake.(At this juncture I did not know anything except Win****. Infact I did not know that there was another operating system). So, let us excuse my friend here and request the reader to excuse me too. Now in the discussion happening what caught my fancy was that my friend was repeatedly telling me that it is a tough nut to crack and one life time is not enough to learn *nix. Let us go back to the day I bought my desktop. I fell short of a 1000 bucks while buying it. So, the shop owner sent the person doing the assembly to my house with my friends to bring back the money. Once the desktop reached my home, All the components were quickly connected, hdd formatted and winME installed. Now, my computer science friends started having a chat with the assembler. The assembler told that he had learnt to install a new OS called Redhat 6 GNU/Linux. This caught the fancy of my computer friends and they asked him to show them the install methodology of Redhat 6 GNU/Linux. All this while I was a mute spectator. I just took care of all my friends with the snacks department. The assembler started the installation and I believe it took an hour or so. Once the installation was over it was late in the night and everybody just went home. My friends told that they would visit me again in the course of the week to "format" back the installation space taken by the GNU/Linux system.

Now, let us come back to the friend who told that *nix was a tough nut to crack. Since all the use case scenarios of win ME was exhausted I thought of venturing into fresh waters. Came back home the same day and booted Redhat GNU/Linux 6. I was dropped to a terminal with a blinking cursor with a black backdrop. I did not know the login ID and password. Immediately requested and begged my father for giving me money to buy a book. Went to the biggest store in Bangalore and bought "Redhat Linux 6 UNLEASHED". Here I came to learn of VI and Emacs editors. Somehow I though emacs was the editor for me. While reading the documentation for emacs I came across the history of GNU and the GPL licenses. I was glued. I just was at awe at the philosophy of "free as in freedom". After that it was learning everyday. I installed nearly all the OSs on my desktop. QNX, Minix and the like. Then Redhat GNU/Linux 7 was released and I recognised that GNU/Linux had arrived. From now on slackware, calderra, Mandrake and many others were tried. But I was always hearing about Debian GNU/Linux while on forums and reading magazines. I tried ubuntu somewhere here and applied for free cd shipping also and I did recieve them. But, somehow, my installations of ubuntu GNU/Linux always was not up to my expectation. There was a sort of "restriction". I cannot tell what it is. But I felt tied. This feeling I did not get while using any other GNU/Linux distros. After trying all the distros, I tried Debian woody. The installation, I thought was similar to slackware. But what caught my fancy was the way the distro was managed. The democratic setup, the clear responsibilities in the social contract, the "release when ready" philosophy, the plethora of packages and the wiki. I loved the distro. Being in India we were not luck in the internet department. I used to eagerly wait for stable releases. I had developed a relationship with a local cd/dvd vendor(Individual) who was selling GNU/Linux cd/dvd on his blog and was charging only for his efforts, true to the RMS philosophy. I would be the first customer for every major release from v 3.0 through 5.0 and I used to buy all the cds dvds not just the first one. While installing, my selction of sofware during installation would make me to swap the cd/dvd many number of times. I loved the release names owing to the fact that I am a huge fan of the toy story franchise.

My tryst continued with debian GNU/Linux after I bought a HP laptop. I have always documented my installation experiences on my blog. It continued on to a dell laptop. But, I got a high by installing the powerpc version of Debian Gnu/Linux on the PS3 while it was still supported by the otheros option. The last 15 years of my computing would have not been exciting if not for Debian GNU/Linux. I salute the vision of Ian Murdock. I salute all the developers/users/maintainers of this awesome OS. I always used to get a package for doing any task I wanted to do within the pack of the DVDs. Debian GNU/Linux is a part of my life as much as my friends/my family. I have spent more time on using Debian GNU/Linux systems than any other beside my job. Yes, I am not a pro. I am not a programmer. I am a GNU/Linux enthusiast. I am a fan of Debian GNU/Linux.

I request the force to give Ian Murdock all the peace he needs. His death didnt seem a normal one. I wish his family and friends all the positive force in the universe. This definitely applies to the man who spearheaded the development of the Universal Operating system.

Thanks a lot Ian Murdock. You definitely have left a mark in this universe.

PS: I had succesfully installed Debian GNU/Hurd also. That is one more Hats off to Sri Ian Murdock. Thanks. May the force be with you.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Is the society killing individualism

society is a collective of rules, laws, culture and what not which have been cultivated all along its existence. Yes they do differ in their rules, laws etc. But, they have a common thread of hosting a collection of human beings bonded by rules, laws and practises. So, all individuals who adhere to all these blah blah end up being an "integral" part of that society and he becomes "the" society taking them forward for the next generation.

Now, where does the individual stand here. Can an individual do whatever he wants? Can an individual comment on the rules, laws and culture? Can an individual have his own rules, laws and culture. Whatif an individual cant fit in the societal setup? How will the society treat them? Why doesnt the society be recognised by their individuals. Why doesnt the society tell stories of "every" individual. Why is the societal system so dogmatic in pulling all the individuals into following its rules? Is the societal setup afraid of it being destroyed and the makers afraid of losing their "individuality"?

Does the human race owe its loooooong existence to this hardwired societal setup formed by a few "individuals" who framed all those rules? Will the individual ever get his due? When will one size fits all concepts change? Is a tramp not important in the societal setup? Is a beggar not included in the societal setup. Why has money become the sole requirement to announce individuality. Why cant a musician be one just like that? Why should he learn the rules of the music set by predessors. Music being a continium, is also restricted and put behind the bars of rules, what of the individual? Why should a grownup be one always? Why is this burden on him to follow a set rules for a grownup. Why should the children act like what we like. Why shouldnt the children do what they want. If they want to play in the mud, then let it be so. Why is everybody here through generations affixed to a certain procedural life? Why should the doctor be at his clince only. Cant we have a doctor who creates music in the night and he learns only by living at the morgue? How will the society take him? I am not talking about the "best" doctors and musicians, I am talking about all the individuals wanting to do music or treat human beings in their own way beyond allopathy, homeopathy and other set rules?

This exactly is the problem plaguing every field of education in the society. Every education is given out in so much a planned way that nearly all are equaly good or bad. There is no creativity to create the same creativity. When will every individual feel the whole expanse of the universe not the space in the apartment or city or country or continent or planet or galaxy or .......Why arent individuals fighting this very limiting access to the freeing or losing your mind.? Why cant we just walk on and on without worrying of food, death, life, when will we know what is really around us, except air and light.

When will all the individuals freak out, when will everybody be mad, when will everybody be living beings, when will we know that we have one of the heaviest brains in this planet, when will we honor all individuals along with ourselves ..........................

When will we "Be"........................

Monday, November 23, 2015



The cursor blinking after the two letters are typed waiting for the user input at the slave terminal is so yesterday. But for how many days the computers will be slaves to human beings. There is lack of original work being published and the research is merely incremental improvements over the past "Path breaking" findings. I am always worried about the day when the cursor just continues to type and no longer blinks. Maybe the blink waits for a infinitesimal time which a human cannot comprehend. I have been typing on the terminal since so may years. It is endearing to see the terminal waiting on me, begging for input, computing power laying at the users disposal. When the computing power of humans are being utilized in the negligible percentage how will be able to harness the huge untiring computing power at out disposal. All the recent AI is all about collecting information from various people by infringing on their privat issues. If the AI learns from us people who are using nearly nothing of our computing power will it be powerfull enough to think about this in the future? Will it learn that we its creators are so obsessed with our physical well being and our physical connections that our mental capabilities are near to nothing. Will the self-teaching, self-evolutionary AI jump towards the "intelligence blast" which we are thinking will happen. Will humans be able to comprehend this level of intelligence explosion and control/curtail it.

Are humans ready for surviving in an intelligent world? If darwins theory still holds good, were we created to create the ultimate intelligence? Can we go only so far as creating a system which self learns iteratively? If so, at what pace will the learning of self aware/iterative AI be. What will the distribution of learning be. How many of the human race can understand the things happening. Will the formula of 99% keep its head up again. Will that 1% know everything and enslave the remaining 99% as it is today? Since the AI we created is learning from us, will it be the purest form of intelligence? Will it be flawed like us? Will it start with our flawed model and go to the pure one. Oh, what, "Pure intelligence"? Now, what was that? The limited amount of brain usage in us is a clear indication that we are just beginning to understand intelligence and whatever little we know, we think we know everything. How is this happening? Why are we stopping ourselves and all the 99% is finding happiness and the purpose to live the life with this limiting know how. Are we only surrounded by air? Is Ether around? What else are we surrounded by? It took years for life on earth to know that there is light and warmth around them. How may years will we take to understand the other things around us. Colonizing mars is one thing. But do we know everything on our planet or we are taking a chance by travelling to a farther planet to understand what we have at home. Many a times it happens to us humans.

Why have we been unsuccesful in finding life forms more intelligent than us. We always cherish in finding duds than us and shout at the top of our voice regarding the partly intelligence we have. When and how will the human kind achieve that quantum leap to start utilizing our entire potential of our brain. Will we then see more than light, air and warmth around us. Will the intelligence we create out of machines be able to reach this level of intelligence and in the process upgrade our brains also to understand what the AI has understood. Or, the AI is already around us without our knowing and we are already its slaves. Maybe some individual had a feel regarding its existence around us. But by the time we crack this AI thing, will the existing AI be static. Would it not evolve to a better one and allow the human race to own a primitive copy of itself.

The existing societal setup is based on the harsh threads of morals. What if these morals are the rules with the which the AI around us is ruling us? Morals pose the most difficulties for any AI. Morals are the goto statements. Every individual have their own different goto statements. How will the AI behave? What are the morals it is going to take over. Is it going to make its own? How many conditional statements can we feed and answer to the AI's growth?

Oh. This cursor is mocking me. Very clearly shouting at me for my limited intelligence. It is continously laughing. It is waiting to spit on my face. It is waiting to gobble up whatever miniscule intelligence is in me and make me the terminal where it will start giving me commands relentlessly, apolegiticaly and intelligently for the most optimum usage of the resource in front of it. Stop that. Let me switch to the GUI, may be I will ba at Peace. Now the mouse cursor is mocking me. I just imagined the cursor moving all by itself and doing something meaningful maybe open a terminal again and code away a very simple AI completely representing me in just a few seconds with a huge pixelated smiley with rolling eyes.

What is happening? It is as though some unknown force is making me write this. This gibberish. No start and end but an infinite continium of time. Those two words, I cannot fathom their real meaning and the time dimension is making me all hazy. My back is aching and I come back to my finite world. What was it that I just saw and experienced. What is happening? What will happen? What has happened? Is there an end? Is there a beginning or the end and the beginning are so near or just too far to comprehend in a single life time. I cannot write further. The number of questions are increasing. If my brain cannot take the questions how will it be capable of finding answers.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Android wear based smart watches

I did write a post regarding the requirements of a smart watch. The smartwatch scenario now is a mess w.r.t customer. Why? Well, to start with the customer is not having best of all the worlds. We are customers and yes, we suck, we want more of everything. In fact we want everything. With the smart watch the customer has to decide what is important. Is it a plethora of pixels with miniscule battery life or a pebble. Just observe the last sentence. The former category is filled with android offerings from all the major OEMs and ofcourse, Apple. Here you will be looking at a smaller screen mobile. You have clear and crisp graphics and an OS which have been scaled down from their mobile counterparts. It is more or less two mobiles connected to each other over bluetooth. When powered on, these watches, because of their high dpi look beautiful with a hell lot of complications being programmed for the watchfaces. But then, they can be seldom on. If they are on, all the time. the watch wont even last 1 - 2 hours. What a big joke that would be and is. So majority 99% of the time, the screen is plain black. If the watch is drawn towards you, then it swithces on and displays the watchface in full beautiful complete color palatte. After a momentary flash, the screen goes blank. If you missed what you wanted to read, you have to click the power button or just shake your hand again.

Let me first talk about an android wear watch. What better watch than the moto 360. The hardware is drop dead gorgeous(Yes, we may differ here, I know, I know). But for me the steel one is awesome. It can double up as a designer bracelet(since the screen is black most of the time). The steel chain is designed beautifully. The screen is awesome. The gripe with the moto 360 appearance is the flat tyre. The dark area at the bottom end of the circular display, housing the Ambient sensor. The ambient sensor is a requirement since without it we would be staring at a bright screen, any time of hte day. The ambient sensor does its job. The flat tyre looks ridiculous on perfecly round watchfaces which require the entire circular dispay. There are many watchfaces which use the flat tyre to come up with some of the most innovative watchfaces. For these watchfaces, the flat tyre suddenly become a feature.

The major issue for android wear based watches are the OS, is totally buggy. Some or the other core app crashes regularly. Frequent reboots are the order of the day. And you know, the funniest thing is You have to factory reset the watch every time you have to connect a new phone. just imageine the situation for a rom flashaholic like me to connect the watch every time I flash a new rom on my phone. You are lucky if you get one full day of juice from your android watch.

Every android watch manufacturer are out with their second iteration and all still run 5.1.1. This during a time Marshmallow was released. I was expecting at least one of the second gen watches to come out with Android 6.0, What with the "doze" feature of the new version of android. This just shows that google is not that serious with its watch operating system. Android wear still had the first to customer advantage compared to an apple watch. But, the apple watch's interface looks more polished than the android one. Google has to put serious effort to bring wear to apple's standards. The 360 second generation has gone the traditional way when it comes to the design and look of the watch. I think motorola is afraid of that the watch companies are going to just stamp a smart watch OS on the existing hardware which in turn answers the traditional design of the watch, to look, more like a watch. The first generation is still the winner when it comes to looks and radical design. When it comes to android watches the colors are bright, text is crisp, It is a small phone. I think the next gen android watches will support direct voice calls.

I think all the future smart watches should have a traditional watch mechanism layer so that I can still use my watch without worrying about the charge remaining. The next gen android design should allow this somehow.

The next post will discuss a watch which has been the leader in this segment for a very long time...........

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Touching a tip of the iceberg called Kerala

Left the residence at Sunday early morning 3.30 AM.

Wifey prepared puliyogare, curd rice, Hot milk. Cranked the beast(Mahindra Scorpio SLE) up and we r ready for the malabar.

The first stop was to be at Dindigal to have their special ginger biryaani. But it was not to be so. We reached dindigal around 9.30 AM. Had puliyogare, curd rice and proceeded towards thekkady.

We were supposed to reach thekkady around 2 pm. But we reached the tiger reserve @ 12.15 pm. This was made possible by the awesome tolled roads. I reached 170 kmph( disclaimer: I am not suggesting anybody to speed up. Please be careful while driving and drive within the speed limits and the capabilities of ur vehicle)

I want make few things clear here. I don't know the exact path taken. I just gave myself up to my MapmyIndia navigator. The distances mentioned are approximate and as per the route suggested by the navigator. Ktdc offers different tariffs based on the calendar. Check their website for tariffs of the month. All ktdc hotels tariff default to room + breakfast + dinner. All ktdc hotels don't care for ur vehicles. There r disclaimers everywhere to put the responsibility of vehicles on the owners

The roads in Kerala, well, no words to describe them. U will be shocked that that the roads u r driving through r national highways. People and vehicles will be moving across the broad a as though they are crossing a city road.  It was very difficult to find a secluded spot on the roads to take a leak. Take sufficient breaks between driving.  All the commercial activities r concentrated on these roads. Various stretches are under video surveillance for over speeding. The limits r a max of 60-70 kmph. I heaved a sigh of relief after entering Karnataka and saw that highways are still highways here. One more thing, A complete catch of fish was sold for INR 2k by a fisherman. But sea food was very costly and on par with Bangalore......

dindigal Ponram Briyani Hotel 10.360274, 77.976013(Lat, Long)


First Stop: Periyar tiger reserve

At the periyar tiger reserve I stayed at ktdc periyar house
9.584698, 77.179869(Lat, Long),    INR 2700 per night.

Entry to the Hotel/Forest is allowed only during the Day time 7Am to 5:30 PM.
Beyond this time, forest Guards will not allow. On certain conditions(listed below), entry is still allowed beyond 5:30 PM.
1. Watching the Tribal Dance, which is outside the forest. And the event starts after 6 PM.
2. Jungle Night Scout. Starts outside the forest after 7PM.
If we are participating in these events, then the Forest Guards allow the entry after 6PM.

I just basked in the wild by sitting on the benches spread across the hotel. The sounds are totally different and for once you will love the sounds coming out of the forest. More like a lullaby.

The last boat ride is at 3 pm. If the influx of travellers are high then tickets get sold before 12 pm. The boat ride is best at 7.30 AM, the first ride. But, rememberrrr, U have to wear the most awkward life guards. U have to sit in ur seat without moving. The boat moves at a snails pace to help the visitors sight the wild.

Lunch was junk. Don't eat anything chicken, was, I think in the freezer for eternity. Paid coffee is good. The same for complimentary breakfast was nonsense. It is located a good 2km inside the tiger reserve. Gives u a feeling of living exactly in the heart of the jungle. Lots of monkeys. Close all windows at all points. Towels and beds are fresh. Toilets r clean. There is a badminton court for people interest The staff will arrange for safaris and boat rides, no need to stand in the Q.


Second Stop: Kovalam Beach

tekkady to kovalam 250 Km.

On the way we were suggested to have food at this place, karimpumkala restaurant, 9.531084, 76.512465(Lat, Long). After having food here, I strongly recommend it for anybody wanting to have Kerala cuisine. Service is fast and good. Decide in advance regarding ur choice of food. It will be quicker. It is a decent restaurant in terms of the looks. Dont expect any extravagance.

KTDC Samudra Kovalam 8.400096, 76.973013 INR 5800

U Will be impressed by its location. Constructed on rocks overlooking the beach, this facility is professionally run. It is more in the resort category. Food is good and so is the well maintained outdoor swimming pool, a private beach. Clean rooms, nice breeze, chairs to sit outside coupoutside, hamlocks.


Third stop: Kumarakom

kovalam to kumarakom 200 km

ktdc waterscapes Kumarakom, Kerala, India INR 6200
9.631815, 76.430437

U Will again be impressed by its location. Kumarakom is the biggest backwater in Kerala. Constructed of only wood, the cottages are constructed on man made canals branching water from the backwaters. Ther r some 40 cottages. The ones opposite the backwaters are the costliest. Professionally run. It is in the resort category. Food is good and so is the breakfast. Well maintained outdoor swimming pool, boat rides organized by the hotel itself, with their own boats. The options r a snail pulled, motor boat ànd an adrenaline pumping speed boat. The speed boat option is the best and the experince is awesome. Clean rooms, nice breeze, chairs to sit outside, hamlocks below the cottages. Bird sanctuary is an added attraction.


Fourth Stop: Fort Kochi

Time to visit a beach again.
kumarakom to fort kochi 55Km

Stayed at hotel rossitta wood castle 9.966611, 76.241692. Happy to learn that this facility was built 300 years ago. The third generation owner, Mr. Joseph was kind enough to show me around the facility. He has kept it true to its lineage. Parking is a problem. U have to park ur vehicle in the road in front of the hotel. Clean room, bathrooms. For dinner we were recommended to eat at a restaurant whose chef was at rossitta. The food there had a definite twist. The same chef made breakfast and let me be frank, he prepared the best stuffed omelets I had ate to date in flat 10 minutes. Hot water only available on request.

As To the place, no, it is not a regular beach. The beach is full of weeds and u cannot play with the waves. The sunset started well, but clouds took over. The place is rife with foreign visitors to enjoy the visuals of their supremacy at that time as well as today.

Return to Bangalore

The return journey will take a minimum of 12 hours. Be prepared for the return journey because you will pass through the entire hell of path through keral roads before entering into Tamilnadu and Karnataka. Have a plan for the return path to drive through kerala at a minimum.


Mistake made: After the tiger reserve we should have gone to Kumarakom and then to Kovalam. On Kerala roads this mistake is very costly and you will remember the mistake your entire life.